Tag Archives: waiting

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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Waiting on God’s Guidance

 

WAITING ON GOD’S GUIDANCE

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Be still, and know that I am God;

Psalm 46:10a

Exhaustion held me hostage. Physically, the insomnia had left me drained. Mentally and emotionally, two distinctly different dilemmas wreaked havoc in my mind.

A family member in a dire situation needed assistance. Should I help? How could I afford to help?

A major project stood at a crossroads. I needed to hear from God on which way to go. I felt trapped in a hallway with many doors, unsure which ones to open.

A dear friend texted me our focal verse.

Be still, and know that I am God; (Psalm 46:10a)

I clung to it like a hidden treasure unearthed. That was exactly what I needed to do.

First, I caught up on my sleep. A clear mind was necessary to hear what God was saying. I continued praying and seeking the Lord to confirm that He wanted me to tackle the project from another approach, almost starting over. Peace settled over me.

A few days later, I helped my family member with a monetary gift. Unsure about how I could make up for this expense, I acted in faith. My word for this year – faith.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

God worked both situations together…for good. Because the project met a delay, the funds I had set aside were not needed now. They equaled the amount I gave my loved one. That is so God! He took two unrelated problems and brought about good.

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Let’s unpack Psalm 46:10 and understand what it means to “be still.” According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (www.blueletterbible.com( the word “still” in this particular verse means to “desist from war.” The same word translates differently in other verses, such as “silent” and “rest.”

While I needed the physical rest, I needed the war in my mind to cease. I don’t wait well, especially when I am waiting on God to direct my footsteps.

The battle had to be silenced, so I could reflect on God. God is larger than any problem. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He is sovereign. And I want His will and His way.

Sometimes, the doors God opens are the doors I would have closed.

I wouldn’t have made these choices, but because I was still. Because I waited. Because I allowed God to be God, instead of charging ahead. These are the doors He chose, and because it is God’s will, it is also mine.

Friend, do you need to sit quietly, waiting for God to open a door in your hall today? Let the battles hush. And know that He is God.

Lord God, help me focus on You, not the battles swirling around me. Help me make the time to meditate on You, and know that You are God. You are my provider. You are my shield. You are my counselor. I await Your answer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Psalm 46.

HIKING THE TRAIL

I know how hard it is to step back and wait on God but memorize this verse. Write it down. Let God guide you into His open doors.

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.