Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Handling Trials

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“My friends, consider yourselves fortunate
when all kinds of trials come your way . . .”
James 1:2

Not too many of us look on trials as blessings—at least not in the moment “when”--
            your daughter is in the ER with breathing difficulties
            your employer informs you that your position has been terminated
            your father shows significant signs of Alzheimer’s
            your car breaks down on the Interstate
            your house has been on the market for two years
            you get a call from the school principal’s office about your son
you develop stomach flu while on vacation

These and a million other scenarios can frighten, anger, overwhelm, disgust, worry, and disappoint us. Seldom do trials initially illicit joy, praise, thanksgiving, or a sense of well-being.

So how do we reconcile with James 1:2? How do we live out God’s admonishment?

I found a few clues to finding the blessings of trials in the rest of James 1.

Trials can build endurance. (James 1:3) It’s true: “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”
Trials can increase faith in God. (James 1:4) If He got you through this one, He will get you through the next.
Trials can forge wisdom. (James 1: 5) We learn from our experiences.
Trials can destroy doubts. (James 1:6) Nothing like a trial to show us that God IS with us!
Trials can make us happy! Really? How?

“Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

The key to these blessings in the face of trials is simply to remain faithful—to hold on tightly to God no matter how hard the wind blows or how violently the earth shakes or how many shoes the dog chews up!

How do you handle trials? Is it with hands of faithfulness? When have you reaped the blessings of a trial?

Be encouraged!

©2015 Pamela D. Williams