James 1:2-4 James 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.
Sometimes that scripture is easier read than lived up to.
Do you ever have those days when it seems like one thing after another is happening to you? Where is seems like you just can’t buy a break, and everything seems to be conspiring against you.
I’ve had several of those lately, and it hasn’t been easy counting it all joy. Sometimes you just want to pull your hair and scream, why me!
Then of course, I have to put it all in perspective and realize that compared to the way things could be I am quite fortunate. That doesn’t always make it easier to deal with when you are in the heat of a trial, but that is where patience has its perfect work.
I’ve also realized that when we are going through trials, we often get into a mood; and many times that mood makes our trial even worse.
A good example might be something happens and you start running late. Well, the blood pressure goes up, you get in a hurry, jump into your car, and speed off down the road. Then as you’re getting close to a cross street, someone pulls out in front of you at the last minute and drives 20 below the speed limit.
You start acting in less than a Christian manner, honking your horn and thinking less than pleasant thoughts toward them. You finally get the opportunity to pass and you put the pedal to the metal, go around the curve and there is your friendly neighborhood state trooper. Or you whip around the slow driver and hit a pot hole blowing your tire and sending your hubcap flying.
You have just perpetuated your trial and made it even worse. We’ve all done it!
So, how can we lessen the bite of our trials, and actually learn from them as we should?
- First off, start your day with God. Don’t plan on praying later in the day, start your day with prayer.
- In your prayer, ask God to guide and direct your every step. Turn your day over to Him, and you can be sure your day will be better than if you lean on your own devises.
- When you start to experience a trail, don’t let it become bigger than it is. Often we let things grow out of proportion because of our impatience. We don’t have time for a trial and it’s just very inconvenient.
- Try your best not to feel sorry for yourself. That one is hard for all of us. We just don’t think it’s fair that we have to deal with certain things, which makes the trial worse. Many of our trails are not near as big as we like to make them out to be. Self-pity intensifies and trial.
- When you do have a genuine trial come upon you, stop and slow everything down, take a few breaths and try to look at it clearly. Is this something you need help with, or is it something you can deal with on your own. Evaluate the situation and don’t let yourself get down. Make a plan for getting through it.
- Lastly, turn it over to God, and He will take that trial and cause it to be a blessing for you. God wants us to experience trials to develop character within us, but He never said we have to go through them alone.
God knows that our trials are painful, and it may seem odd that He inspired the scripture that I started with. As you can see though, the reason we’re supposed to count it all joy is not that trials make us happy or feel good, but they help us grow and become stronger in Christ.
I find that the closer I am to God, the less stressful and depressing my trials become. On the other hand, the busier I get, the less time I spend with God, the worse my trials seem. The stress and pain of my trials is usually a pretty good barometer of the time I’m spending with God.
Trials really can be a blessing, and we can learn to call them that if we will just get some perspective. In that way, we become the clay in the Master Potters hands.