Tag Archives: trials

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.

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From Oppression to Opportunity

FROM OPPRESSION TO OPPORTUNITY

By Carolyn Dale Newell

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NKJV

How do you prepare someone for the unthinkable? For several chapters, Jesus had been doing just that, exhorting His eleven disciples to handle what was about to transpire. Judas had already left to sell out Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Jesus knew His arrest, trial, and crucifixion would shatter and scatter the remaining disciples. As He summarized His discourse, Jesus gave the disciples and every Christian three promises in the above verse.

First, Jesus promises peace. His second promise assures us that as long as we live in this world, we will encounter tribulations, but there is one more promise. We can be encouraged because Jesus has overcome the world.

In the midst of every storm, we seek peace. Let the winds settle down. Forbid the waves to churn. Let our ships stop rocking. Wouldn’t it be cruel to be out in the Atlantic in the path of a hurricane? Becoming seasick would only worsen an already horrific situation. That’s a double whammy, and sometimes life throws them at us. Removing that nausea won’t make the howling storm go away, but you can handle it much better if you weren’t ill.

Enter divine peace. The peace of Jesus won’t make that cancer go away. Peace won’t remove the bills you cannot pay. Peace won’t heal that rocky relationship, nor mend your brokenness, but it keeps you steady in the storm.

The peace of Jesus will stabilize us. It will calm our anxieties. It will soothe our hearts and minds.

Even though we are guaranteed tribulations, we are promised peace. A peace the world cannot offer (Phil. 4:6-7).

Then, Jesus tells us to take heart. Trouble is coming, but don’t allow it to bring you down. Don’t allow the enemy to whisper doubt and fear in your ear. Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus was victorious over the cross, over the grave, and over Satan and his demonic forces. This is our victory cry.

Our oppression is really our opportunity to see God work.

Each storm we pass through is another reason to pray and observe the miracles of God. What will You do this time, Lord? Watching God work is amazing, but we cannot perceive His wonders until something is broken. That’s when we have a front row seat to watch the power of God move.

I don’t like the promise of squalls any more than you do, but since they are unavoidable, I prefer sailing through with peace. The unknown elements of any tempest can toss us about, but the perfect peace of Jesus keeps us tranquil.

Since I cannot prevent the howling winds, I can lift up my chin and be of good cheer. I get to watch the Master at work. What masterpiece will You unveil for us this time?

Lord, we praise You for giving us Your peace to handle the storms. Our thankful hearts glorify You because You have overcome the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read John 16.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Looking at past storms, how has God blessed you through them? Remember that, especially through your next season of pain.

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.