Trials, Tribulations, and JOY
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4
“…not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5
“…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29
How can we possibly rejoice IN trials and tribulations? Okay, maybe afterwards if and when we get to the other side of them, right? But wait a minute. God tells us to count it ALL joy WHEN we’re amid trials. And He tells us to glory IN tribulations. During! Unbelievable, isn’t it? But hold up. God is doing something in believers in Jesus Christ when we face trials and tribulations. He has a purpose in the midst of them! He is testing our faith in Him to produce patience as He does His work in us. The patience produces experience which produces hope. Why? When people quote the verse about God working all things together for good, they often leave out the key part of the verse and the next verse. He “works all things together for good TO THEM THAT LOVE GOD.” Next verse? He predestined those who repent and place their trust in Christ to be conformed to His image. During the trials of believers, He is conforming us to Christ!
I have faced great trials for decades, and frankly I continue to face them daily to the point I feel I have every reason to quit ministry, let alone to quit life altogether. It’s been for decades a challenging life. But I don’t quit because God strengthens me and because my love for Him grows by the day, and I know He is using the trials in my life to perfect His love in me, to grow me in His image, to prepare me for eternity with Him, and to use me and the gifts He has given me to proclaim Christ to the world and to help people be forever followers of Christ. Sometimes the challenges are so grueling I want to quit on the spot. But His Spirit reminds me I am growing ever closer to Him, and the changes He is making in me and the fruit He is bearing through me for His glory astound me. He is teaching me that amid trials, as I yield to Him, He can do an amazing work in and through me to glorify Him and draw me ever nearer to Him. Now that’s cause for rejoicing!
Facing trials? Yield your life to Christ! Rejoice!