Tag Archives: faith

Enjoying Trials or Joy in Trials

Enjoying Trials or Joy in Trials

By Carolyn Dale Newell

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4 NKJV

No one can honestly say they enjoy a trial, but James encourages us to look for the joy within a trial. We must seek the long-term silver lining in every storm.

The phrase “fall into” implies being plunged into difficulties. Situations that aren’t a consequence of our choices. Sudden and unexpected torment invades our lives and overwhelms us.

Tribulations test our faith as well as increasing it. Troubles also produce patience, which we need because we have a tendency to race through these tough seasons. When we rush our storms, we miss out on God’s purpose: the patience, joy, and perfecting work of God. Not that we achieve perfection before heaven, but we are made complete.

Failure to endure hardships means we will need another opportunity to get it right. I am no fan of lingering in times of affliction, but I prefer to get it right the first time.

The Greek word for patience is “hupomone .” It refers to an active endurance. While we are not passively waiting, we must seek God’s direction about what He desires for us to do.

My first major test of faith as a Christian was my husband’s leukemia. I learned a lot during those years. I discovered more about God’s grace as I suffered through depression and a breast cancer scare. When my vision took a drastic decline, I understood more about the refining fire we endure. The previous problems passed, but the visual impairment continues. God’s grace and mercy surround me. I consider my blindness a privilege, because it has been an honor to watch God accomplish His work in me and through me. That is my source of joy.

We baked Iva a cake today for her fourth birthday. Yes, a cake for my guide dog. If we had pulled it out of the oven early, it would have fallen apart. If we left it too long, it would have burnt.

God has perfect timing, and He knows just when to remove us from the fire. Faith, like precious gems must undergo a refining process.

Allow the words of James to help you through the sickness, the brokenness, the grief, the financial setback, the problem at work, the problem at home, and the depression. Search until you find that joy. Remain in the fire of testing until God says you are done. Perfect. Lacking nothing.

Trials don’t come to hurt us, but to help us.

Lord, we hate tribulation, but we submit to Your timetable, so that You may have Your perfect work in our lives. Illuminate the joy we desperately seek. We trust You in our mess. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read James 1:2-8 and verse 19.

HIKING THE TRAIL

You are either in a trial, just coming out of one, or heading into one. Keep a journal of the joys, big and small, that you encounter as you pass through the fire.

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.

Guide Dog Tale:Guided by the Master

 

Guided by the Master

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Iva and I embarked upon a new adventure. A deep snow had blanketed our community, but it was melting fast. After two fun-filled days of playing in the snow, which Iva loves, I decided to venture out.

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but our city snow plows miss a lot. The warm sun had chased the ice away except for the multiple snowbanks left by the snow plows.

Iva went full steam ahead, happy to be walking again, but as she began crossing our first patch of snow, I hesitated. She noticed my reluctance as she looked back at me. Then she continued forward.

“Wait!” I exclaimed unsure of proceeding.

Iva knew I disliked the slippery spot we found ourselves on. She continued, but at a much slower pace until we reached the pavement again.

From that point on, Iva carefully guided me across multiple snowbanks, sometimes taking me around them. Iva and I had never worked together in this amount of snow. Usually the streets remain icy or filled with salt, which isn’t good for Iva’s paws. She was raised in Massachusetts by Racheal Belle, where snow was frequent. But Iva never learned to guide in the snow. She had been trained at Guiding Eyes from April to September, when snow wasn’t around.

Iva worked like a pro, guiding me across places I didn’t want to travel. Places that made me feel uncomfortable at best. Apprehensive and unsteady at worst.

God spoke to me as Iva directed my steps. He said, not audibly, “Carolyn, this is how I guide you, but you often want to put on your brakes. You don’t want to journey through the unknown. You pull back when the going gets rough. “

Iva was saying, not audibly, “Trust me, Mom. I’ve got this.”

And that is what God says to me too. Trust Me to direct your steps. Finances look bleak? Trust Me. You feel weak and inadequate? Trust Me. You have lost loved ones? Trust Me. Prayers aren’t answered fast enough? Trust Me. The enemy attacks? Trust Me. Stepping out in a new calling? Trust Me.

And God says that to you too. He wants us to trust whole-heartedly as He takes us by the hand and guides us across troubled waters. Half-hearted faith won’t do. Trust God with that stronghold. Trust God with that addiction. Trust God with that rebellious or wayward child. Trust God to walk you through grief, death, disease, depression, and peril.

Christians are guided by the Master. As the Israelites traveled to the Promised Land, they were led by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire by night. Likewise, God goes before us, leading the way. Will we follow in faith, or will we shrink back in unbelief?

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.