Trials & Joy! What in the world? Here’s another irony God blesses us with! We generally do not consider a trial a joy until it’s over and done. I can be a whiny brat in the midst of trials. A few years ago I was whining about my youngest daughter having to get medical care 6 hours away in a hospital because she has Medicaid and they were demanding she go so far away. I thought it ridiculous at the time! We traveled great distances to visit her as much as we could and I learned about Zoom way before COVID 19 because all the medical consults were done over Zoom. In hindsight, this hospital may have just saved her life! Had she gone to a facility that wasn’t fully medical and psychological she may have died. I’m grateful and feel like a heel for even complaining!
Nobody signs up for trials and sufferings yet none of us are immune. Trials and suffering will come. If we are wise people we look back and learn from the trials life has brought us. Trials produce something in us that cannot be gained any other way. We are being trained by the school of affliction. In China those who go to prison for their faith are considered having passed the test and approved for ministry. They’ve been refined by the fire of persecution, suffering and trials.
The word for steadfastness here is also translated “patience” in other translations. I’m not sure any of us would say we thrive at being patient? I know I wouldn’t raise my hand to that one! I imagine most of the time our impatience comes from a place of selfishness? I want what I want and I want it right now! The immature and impatient react emotionally and verbally to everything around them. The mature have patience and steadfastness and are able to weather the storm without tearing down the faith of others. The season we are in is full of uncertainty and impatience. How can we count it a joy???
I’m alive, I’m well, I’m saved, I’m a daughter of the King!
Paul knew the secret to contentment in all circumstances:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
Maybe this is his secret?
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—-practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
God, please give me the ability to think on what’s pure, lovely, commendable, and what’s worthy of praise! Help me to trust You through every trial and suffering. May my words and actions point others to You and not to myself. God, for my friend and neighbor who is undergoing a great trial, great suffering, please walk with them. May I walk with them too. Produce in all Your people this Holy steadfastness and patience, the kind the world doesn’t even understand. In Jesus name, Amen.