We live in a fallen world and we all face many kinds of trials in our lives. None of us are exempt. In fact, I am writing this post from the midst of a great trial for our family, after the sudden and extremely unexpected passing of my father-in-law.

The Lord calls believers in Christ to “count trials as joy” (James 1:2-4). How could we possibly do that? It is completely counterintuitive and against our human nature. And yet, the Bible is full of God’s perspective on suffering, trials, and difficulties. His perspective is extremely different from ours. In His sovereignty, when He allows hardships in our lives, it is to accomplish much good in our lives and in the Kingdom.

THE BLESSINGS OF TRIALS

Scripture is full of encouragement about the spiritual benefits of our trials as followers of Christ. Here are a few of the blessings my trials can produce in my life as I trust God if I am in Christ:

  • Lamentations 1
    • Suffering as a consequence of my own sin may help me repent of sin and return to God if I have strayed, or if I have not come to yield my life to the Lordship of Jesus yet.
  • Matthew 5:10-11 and Acts 5:41
    • Suffering for my faith in Christ means I have been counted worthy to suffer in Jesus’ name.
    • I am blessed if I am insulted, punished, and/or persecuted for my faith in Jesus.
  • Romans 5:3-5
    • I can glory in my sufferings because they will produce:
      • perseverance
      • character
      • hope
  • James 1:2-4
    • God will use trials to bless me with:
      • endurance
      • greater faith
      • greater spiritual maturity
      • spiritual completeness
      • I will lack nothing
  • Hebrews 12:4-12
    • Because I am a Christian, I am to view hardships as discipline from God. Trials:
      • are verification of my adoption as a child of God
      • help me develop greater respect for God
      • yield peaceful fruit
      • bring about righteousness
      • are guaranteed to be for my benefit
      • allow me to share in God’s holiness

I may not have much control over what trials come my way. But I do have control over my response as a daughter of the Most High God.

I want to share some amazing, life-changing truths with you – if you are open to receiving them. <3

I can choose to look at difficult things through God’s perspective. I can choose to embrace all of the good things God wants to do in me in the midst of my painful experiences. I can look at them as a sculpting tool God is using to make my life more beautiful and pleasing to Him as He creates a living masterpiece.

JOY IS MY CHOICE TO MAKE IN DIFFICULT TIMES

I can choose depend on God’s wisdom, His strength, His sovereignty, His power, His goodness, His love, and His vision. I can choose to trust Him and His Word. I can choose to let Him lead me.

I can learn to face trials in my life (big and small) as spiritual tests and opportunities for growth.

When I face difficulties, the Holy Spirit empowers me (if I belong to Christ) to decide to respond in:

  • Faith
    • I don’t know the answers, but I trust that God knows what to do and that He will lead me through this. (Isa. 30:21, Ps. 23)
    • I don’t have the wisdom to solve this dilemma, but I trust that God has wisdom and power in this situation. (Isa. 40:28)
    • I know God is sovereign, good, and loving even now and even over this. (Jer. 29:11-13)
  • Joy
    • I know that God promises to use this specific trial to help me grow in my faith and in spiritual maturity, and that brings me great joy. (James 1:2-4)
    • Jesus invites me to ask for things I genuinely need – according to His will – and to receive from God, that my joy might be full. (John 16:24)
    • A joyful heart is good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)
    • God calls me to rejoice in Him at all times. (Phil. 4:4)
    • I have so many reasons for joy in Christ, even in the midst of my trials (the following is excerpted from www.gotquestions.org).
      • The joy of my salvation.
      • The joy of anticipating God’s deliverance.
      • The joy of God’s presence.
      • The joy of spiritual maturity.
  • Anticipation
    • I can’t wait to see how God will use this awful situation to create something beautiful and good in my life and bring glory to Himself!
    • God wants to use hardships to help conform me to the image of Christ Jesus, I can be excited about that. (Rom. 8:29)
  • An Open Heart
    • What does God want me to learn and how does He want to help me to grow in this painful trial?
    • I want my heart to be soft and yielded to His leading.
  • Spiritual Treasure Seeking
    • It is only in the dark caves where people can find diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and gems physically, it is similar spiritually, the greatest treasures are found in the darkest times.
    • I don’t want to miss any of the gifts He has for me here.
  • Prayer
    • Lord, I give this situation to You. You see all that I am going through and my suffering. I trust You are with me. I trust You are sovereign and good.
    • I invite Your provision!
    • How should I pray about this situation?
    • Not my will but Yours be done! (Luke 22:42)
    • Is there anyone I should ask to pray with me/for me about this?
    • What step do you want me to take next?
    • I only want to see Your greatest glory!
    • I want Your perfect will.
    • What miracles do You want to do here?
  • Peace
    • In the world, I will have tribulation. But Jesus promises to give me His peace, even in these times. (John 16:33)
    • God will keep me in His perfect peace when I trust Him and my mind is focused on Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
    • I can lay all of my concerns, worries, and fears before God because He cares for me. (Phil. 4:6)
  • Assurance 
    • He is going to make a way for me to make it through this. (Isa. 43:16-19)
    • He is with me and He will never leave or forsake me. (Deut. 31:8)
  • Rest
    • Jesus invites me to come to Him when I am weary and He will give me rest for my soul. (Matt. 11:28-30)
  • Strength 
    • His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)
    • God promises I can do all that He calls me to do through the power of Christ in me. (Phil. 4:12-13)
    • The Lord is my strength and my song. (Ex. 15:2)
  • Thanksgiving
    • I can look for the blessings and provision of God in the midst of my trial. (1 Thess. 5:18)
    • I can give thanks to the Lord for He is good! (Ps. 107:1)
  • Focusing on Positive Things 
    • I can focus on the good things, the Philippians 4:8 things, because whatever I focus on tends to grow in my field of spiritual vision.
  • Receptivity to His promises
    • I learn about God’s promises theoretically as I read His Word. But it is during a crisis that I actually get to rest the weight of my life on God’s promises and experience them in reality.
    • I want to keep all of God’s promises in my heart and stand firmly on them and His Word.
  • Ministry
    • How does God want me to shine for Christ in the midst of this yucky situation? (Phil. 2:14-16, Matt. 5:13-16)
    • How might He want me to be an example, blessing, and witness to others? (1 Cor. 7:16, Acts 1:8)
    • How does God desire me to overcome evil with good here? (Rom. 12:17-21)
    • I can rest assured that God will use my pain – and the comfort He brings to me – to bring comfort, healing, salvation, and to strengthen the faith to others in the future when they hear about what He did for me and how I responded. (2 Cor. 1:6)

This doesn’t mean I won’t have feelings of sadness. I will! I am human, after all. I will have sadness and grief, at times. I will feel frustration and anger, at times. I will hurt. I will have emotions. It is important to feel my emotions and to identify them and to deal with them rightly. But I don’t have to be a slave to my emotions. And I don’t have to be a slave to my circumstances. Ultimately, I can choose to receive truth from God’s Word rather than my feelings – which are not always trustworthy.

Things may look hopeless from a human perspective.

Thankfully, as a believer in Christ, I don’t have to look through merely a human perspective.

I can look up in faith – from my muddy pit – to Jesus. I can pray. I can praise and thank Him in the storm. I can look forward to all the good things God will do through the trial. I can give my fears, cares, worries, and concerns to God. He can and will lead me if I know Him and trust Him.

NOTE – The fact that God calls us to “count trials as joy” does NOT mean:

  • I should go looking for trials.
  • I should try to create drama and unnecessary conflict.
  • I have to stay in an abusive situation where I am truly in danger.

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If you have experienced God’s supernatural joy in the midst of a difficult trial, or have learned how to approach hard times with joy, we’d love to hear about it!

RESOURCES

Verses about Trials

 

 

 

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