Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
Joy in trials? James was kidding, right? He certainly wasn't talking about the trials faced by a 21st-century Christian. Does James expect us to rejoice in challenges like pornographic television, murder-filled video games, demonic movies, judgmental relatives, nasty neighbors, evolution teachings, and abortions preformed right down the street?
Did James have any idea how much today's mothers have to do and how little time there is to do it?
Did he know what it was like to oversleep only to awaken to brothers arguing savagely over a matchbox car while your sweet daughter is drawing on the wall with permanent marker and the toddler is roaming about unsupervised dragging a blanket though the mess the puppy made, and your anti-homeschool mother-in-law is ringing the doorbell? This is cause for rejoicing?
Yep, James was talking to us. We all want a life of justice and fairness void of trials but we are promised trouble, testing, tribulation and suffering. The mighty men of God came only through trouble and suffering. God says, "Tribulation worketh patience; patience, long-suffering and kindness, come by way of trials."
I have spent more than my fair share of time trying to avoid trouble or disappointment and praying against trials. But when I look back over my life I see how these trials have made me stronger, refined me as explained in 1 Peter 1:6-8. God uses trials to bring me to a place of deep surrender of spirit.
This does not mean trials automatically produce spiritual fruit. If we walk in the self-pity of our flesh, trials can make us bitter or resentful, hard, cruel and cynical.
God will transform those who look to Him for guidance. God asks that we have a tender heart, a teachable spirit, and a yielded will. If we surrender the trial to God, and praise Him, trusting He will work the trial for good-we will develop character and noble living produced only through the tribulation process.
Don't pray for exemption from trials, but pray that God will teach you and use troubles to mold you into the person He created you to be.
God's grace is sufficient for every situation (even when your mother-in-law pops over for an unplanned visit). His abundant goodness, kindness, and love are available to us for the asking. He promises to deliver us and give us deeper intimacy and greater faith through all trials.
Learn to recognize trials as treasures in disguise and REJOICE!
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
Author Robin Sampson has homeschooling for twenty years. She has a "yours, mine, and ours" blended family of eleven children and thirteen grandchildren. Visit http://Heartofwisdom.com to read more.
Robin's writings include The Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach, What Your Child Needs to Know When, Wisdom: An Internet-Linked Unit Study, A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays, and Ancient History: Adam to Messiah.