Trials and Joy

Last night as I turned out the light and lay in bed, I began talking with the Lord about numerous things. It’s a habit of many years to have a talk with Him before I drift off into the land of slumber. I pray for friends, family, myself. In the midst of this conversation my mind turned to times of my greatest joys. I’m thankful to say there have been many such times; those moments when, though difficulties are being faced, quiet joy also fills heart and mind.

As I continued to reflect on those situations, it reminded me, that’s the reason we are allowed trials! Have you ever wondered the deeper meaning of James 1:2, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” The New King James Version says it even more succinctly, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” What?! We may understandably wonder why anyone should be happy over some trial. Trials are not comfortable. Trials bring pain. What is there to be happy about — except to be gladly relieved when it’s over?

The “counting it all joy” is all to do with the outcome. A trial, like a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel, molds us into something beautiful. If there were no trials in our lives, we would never know how strong God is to bring us through. We would never understand His wisdom, the courage He gives, or His own peace that beams like a bright light in any darkness. Trials give faith opportunity to grow. Like the words from Andre Crouch’s song, Through It All — “If I never had a problem, I wouldn’t know God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in God could do.”

The next time you face a trial, look up! God wants to do something amazing in you and for you, and through you. When a lump of clay is spinning on a wheel, being designed with sharp instruments, and placed in a fire, the outcome perhaps is unimaginable, but when the door of the kiln is opened, something beautiful appears.

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