Trials and Joy

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

-James 1:2-4

What a monumental command! How do we couple trials and joy? I don’t like trials; I like smooth sailing. But trials are inevitable for all of us, so we may as well seek to face them God’s way—with joy.

Does that seem impossible in light of your present circumstances? Did God have James write this only to those “happy all the time” people (that’s code for weird)? The thing you must remember is that God never asks of us what He will not do in us. I have found that one of the keys to having joy in trials is a simple, even silly, reminder: the middle is not the end.

You might be in the middle of a time of trial right now, but remember, this is not your permanent address. As a matter of fact, I believe that some trials become more difficult and are more prolonged than necessary because of our own attitudes or actions. God allows trials to perfect faith, and faith is not perfected through continual cries for the trials to end, but rather through worship and trust while in the middle of them.

There are seasons in life when it is hard to find a “this life” reason to worship, but worship is not about how things are going. Worship is about the worthiness of God and submitting ourselves to His will.

So if you feel stuck in the middle of a never-ending trial, remember, the middle is not the end, and praise at all times might be what God is trying to perfect in you!

Excerpt from “Body Builders” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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