Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
If you’re anything like me, you have faced trials and your faith has indeed been tested – and you didn’t always consider it pure joy at the time.
For a rather mild example, I was not at all joyful the year we had to move clear across North America. My husband Lance’s contract engineering job was in Connecticut, of all places. But, most of our family was right here, in the Pacific Northwest – not in New England.
Not Exactly Pure Joy
Looking back, I went, more kicking and screaming than joyfully. I don’t think I was really up for one of life’s trials at the time.
However, once we did move, we eventually fell head over heels for a big 4-bedroom home that we wanted to fill with kids and grandkids! (Never mind that we were, medically unable to have kids at the time…)
Opportunity, Is That You?
Lance was laid off – just eleven days after we closed on that great house, so, I had to get a job.
Though not completely joyful about that, I found myself boldly sharing my faith with a fellow newbie, at the temp job. That’s not something I ever did before! (It was repetitive factory work in a testing cell, where we could hear each other.)
She and I were transplants from Washington, and we both wondered why we wound up in Connecticut, of all places. Hmmm.
So, Not ALL Of Our Family Was In The Northwest
A few weeks later, a young family member (who just happened to be within driving distance of Connecticut…) needed rescuing, and Lance drove out to pick her up, since he had the time to do it.
God placed her in our home, for a little over a year, at the exact time when she needed to hear His Word, above all else she was hearing.
She was able to worship God, go to Bible study, sing in the church choir, and be a straight-A student — in school and confirmation class. And, above all, she was safe!
And The Trials Continued
Once we lost “custody” of our visiting relative, we replaced her with five more!
First, Lance’s son, moved in. Then Lance’s pregnant daughter, and her husband, and our grandson! Instantly, it seems, we were a family of seven, living together in that big old Colonial, in Connecticut.
We did fill that house with kids and grandkids.
Joy, and more joy. Trials and more trials. Words, and more words.
Then, sadly, we were again back to a family of two.
Bloom Where You're Planted
Being in Connecticut, of all places, it turns out that we were just a 2-hour drive away from a certain doctor in New Jersey, who could help us with the surgery necessary to have kids.
Who even knew?
God answered the prayers of an 18-year-old, 18 years later, with a beautiful son – Simon! (Yes, I waited another whole lifetime to become pregnant!)
Faith And Perseverance
In the MIDST of trials, it may be hard to see them for what they are. God didn’t let us in on the timeline or lay out the details of what He had in store for us. No drawings, charts, or blueprints.
Looking back at those trials, it’s easier to see with the eyes of faith, what was going on. A trial. Many trials. Trials that produced perseverance and a more mature faith. More joy, too!
Do you consider it pure joy to face trials? Can you at least look back and see how you’ve matured in your faith afterwards?
I pray that you can, my friend,
Next, we’ll take another glimpse into the Book of James, and see how to get wisdom. Stay tuned.