Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:6-7
None of us wants to feel pain, uncomfortableness, stretched to our limits, agony, injury or distress but I think we can all agree that usually a time of trial will result in spiritual growth and maturity.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
And truly, we all want to grow, yes? However…not sure about you but when I think of trials and difficult circumstances, I usually think of or recall circumstances where I’m the victim or they just happened. Think car accident, job loss, house not selling (ha ha), kids acting up, etc. Life is difficult at times.
But what if our troubles / trials are the result of God-willed discipline?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
For they (earthly fathers) disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:10-12
Say what? My loving Father in heaven causing all this turmoil to discipline me? How about that…hmmmm. Makes me very uncomfortable to consider the implications. Before I continue, however, let me make clear nothing that I am going through right now is a significant trial. I am humbled by others and their trials…my friend whose daughter’s husband died unexpectedly, friends and family with cancer, the conflicts in the Middle East, the ebola crisis, extreme poverty and lack of clean water in other countries. My life is great by comparison BUT my life still has challenges.
So, with the thought of God-willed discipline, during my quiet time this morning, the Lord and I went through my two current trials to determine what was what…
House not selling – I want you to trust me. You have placed too much faith in financial security. You have also placed faith having everything all together. I know you need these things but seek my kingdom first.
Difficulties at work – You have a prideful, judgmental attitude (ouch). I know of your struggles but we’re working on you. Run with endurance the race I’ve laid out for you.
So yeah…they’re not significant trials but they’re my trials and they are very real right now.
So why be joyful? Go back to James 1:2-4..
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Perfect and lacking in nothing. These trials are temporary. My salvation and relationship with God are eternal. Character over comfort…trials lead me to righteousness.