Treasured Trials- Finding Joy In Life’s Trials
By Steph Nickel
How do you react to trials in your life? Steph talks about finding joy in life’s hardships, and encourages us to put our hope and faith in God.
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Trials And Hardships
I recently committed to re-reading the book of James. It’s odd to me that this is one of my favourite Bible books. Odd because, in the ESV, James 1:19 says, “… be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,” and I’m a communicator (that’s a polite way of saying I like to talk).
James 1 is so rich. There is so much to learn in these 27 brief verses. Today I’d like to examine the upside of facing trials and hardships.
Verses 2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (ESV).
Where do I find joy?
In spending time with family and friends.
In enjoying good health.
In being liked.
In having a house to come home to.
In having a financial cushion, even a small one.
There are many items I could add to this list. And I’m fairly certain your list would look something like mine.
Who among us can say our knee-jerk reactions to trials are joy and rejoicing?
Finding Joy In Life’s Trials
Our three children were young. Our finances were stretched to the limit and we were carrying a heavy debt load. But … I was drawing close to the Lord. I got to the point in my relationship with Him that I could say, “God, if we have to be on the verge of bankruptcy for me to experience this kind of closeness to You, then keep us here.”
Over the years I have known individuals who have experienced illness, loss, and other tragedies and yet, declared that God was in control and could be trusted no matter what their circumstances.
I admit there was a time I felt they weren’t be honest, were just saying what was expected of them as Christians. But I’ve learned that’s not the case for many who face what seem to be insurmountable challenges.
Do they wish the trial would end? Most likely.
Do they get tired of struggling through each day? I’m certain of it.
Have they learned to “count it all joy”? Some of them seem to be well on the way.
Putting Hope And Faith In God
As I work with Paralympian Deb Willows on a follow-up to her memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, I am reminded again that there are those who are full of faith and steadfastness, the results of their faith being tested. They are moving toward the perfection and completeness the Bible talks about. While they seem to lack much, from a human perspective, they lack very little from God’s vantage point.
Deb and her family have faced many trials over the years—and still continue to do so. Yet, they have put their hope and faith in God. They seek to remain faithful to fulfill His plans and purposes for their lives.
Do they struggle? Most definitely.
Has it been difficult for Deb to deal with the challenges of cerebral palsy as a woman of a certain age? It has. And now that she must also deal with late onset diabetes, the challenges are even greater. Add to that the health issues faced by her aging parents and you begin to realize counting it all joy does not come naturally.
I’m sure the entire family—and all those who face ongoing challenges—have days when they want to throw up their hands and cry out, “No more!”
Living In Faith
Still, this life is about living in faith. And as it says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Sometimes we feel as if we lack more than we possess. And yet, a Hebrews kind of faith gives us the wherewithal to trust God’s promise that says facing our trials with joy ultimately results in the provision of all we need.
Living in this way is foreign to the world’s way of thinking—and sometimes foreign to ours, no matter how long we’ve been followers of Jesus. There are those who ask, “If God is real—if He is good—how can He allow so much suffering in the world.”
As we learn to walk in obedience to the directives in His Word and begin to see things from His perspective, we will realize that trials of all descriptions have a place in His economy.
As we get to know the Lord better, we will realize we can trust Him completely and we will begin to move toward the completeness He promises.
Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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