Joy and Trials

“Consider it all joy, my brethren when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.                       
James 1:2

We don’t usually think of joy and trials as a pair.  Joy is about happiness and goodness and trials is the hard stuff of life.  But in God’s economy, we are to find joy in the midst of trails.  In order to do this it is of the utmost importance that we first remember that Satan is the Father of lies, the first sinner that ushered sin into our world and tempted Adam and Eve.  Satan is the prince of the power of the air.  He is the spirit of the age, the evil one.  He is the source of all evil and illness and death – not God!  And yet, we so often jump immediately to blaming God.  True, God is able to reach down and save us from suffering, but so often He does not because He knows that suffering is leading us to Him – to a deeper walk and trust and a more profound faith and hope in His eternity. 

So when circumstances overwhelm you, blame Satan – trust God.  He is there and He cares for you.  He has a plan and a purpose.  He will work all things out for good for those who love Him.  So where does joy come in?  Joy is not happiness because joy is not based on how we feel about our circumstances.  Joy is a deeper all-abiding knowing and contentment that God is there and that He loves you unconditionally and forever.  Joy is knowing that the things which we see are temporal, but the things that we do not see are eternal.  Even in the midst of grief, anger, sadness, or depression, we can experience an inner joy.  If we focus on that joy through praise and thanksgiving, joy will overtake the other emotions. 

Joy is an interesting study throughout Scripture.  It is more often than not coupled with being in the presence of the Lord.  That trial that you are facing should drive you to your knees and there in the presence of the Lord you will find joy in the midst.  God is able to comfort your mind and relax your spirit and bring peace in the middle of turmoil.  He promises us that if we are, “…anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. 

The other reason that we should consider trials as joy is because we have posed a threat to Satan and therefore we share in the suffering of Christ Jesus.  Satan let’s those who are complacent, stay in their complacency.  But those who are fighting for the Kingdom of God in their own souls and encouraging and teaching others God’s truths pose a threat and Satan attacks with vengeance.  I speak and teach all over and can almost predict trouble within a week of God’s working through me.  When I have a deadline is when my physical pain is so bad that I can barely accomplish what needs to be done.  But the joy comes in the doing and being faithful knowing that it is God’s grace that will allow me through it.  He will never leave me nor forsake me. 

 

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