We all face difficulties in our lives. No one is exempt from life’s challenges, sorrow, and pain. It’s not a matter of if, but when.

Our trials can be a result of our own choices, the choices of others, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and let’s not forget, we have an enemy that seeks to kill and destroy. 

Our family has experienced our fair share of trials and I can honestly say at times I was not very Jesus-like in my reactions. My emotions were in full control which only prolonged the pain.

I never understood scripture that says to consider it pure joy whenever you face trials. How is joy and suffering in the same sentence? Our trials are hard and can be devastating. You have no control as to when, how, where, or why. It’s an emotional basket filled with hurt, fear, and helplessness. Where is the joy in that?

As my relationship with God continues to grow, I believe I finally get it.

God’s Truth: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Perseverance is the quality of those who persevere and continue to do or try to achieve something despite difficulty or discouragement. The word is typically used in a positive way to refer to the quality of someone who doesn’t give up no matter what. A person who keeps trying despite major challenges and setbacks is said to show perseverance.

So, through our trials, if we allow perseverance to prevail, in time we will lack nothing. Although this almost sounds impossible, it offers hope.

I can say that my trials have shaped the course of my life. My trials helped me realize I have NO control over life events, and I’ve learned to surrender to this reality. Not an easy feat when you are a Type A personality!

The day I surrendered all my hurts and emotions to God was the day I broke free from the heavy-weighted burden of my trials. It does not remove the emotions or the feeling of losing control, but by surrendering it brings all things under His control.

When we are at our weakest, and we call on His name, it allows God’s strength to work through us. There is a sense of peace that can only come from Him. When we try and navigate life on our own, we struggle simply because our emotions lead the way. Our pride resists the thought of surrendering to anyone. We have a mindset that says we don’t need anyone and we alone, have the strength, patience, and grace to endure. As a result, we often suffer in silence.

Sometimes people mistakenly think that after their salvation, God is going to make life comfortable and stress-free, but that’s not what Scripture says. Jesus said we would have trouble in this world. 

God’s Truth: I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

To consider trials as “all joy” makes no sense unless we see them as opportunities for spiritual growth. Trials are designed by God to test our faith, humility, submission, and values. We can either waste our difficulties by defiantly resisting God or benefit by trusting in and depending on Him. The first way leads only to suffering, but the second option results in spiritual maturity and eternal rewards. 

We should not be surprised at the fiery ordeals that come upon us for our testing. Our heavenly Father disciplines and trains us as His beloved children so we may share in His holiness.

Trials can bring out the worst in us but also birth the best in us. Every trial I have endured has brought me closer to Jesus – which is a choice. Do you run to God or blame God? I can assure you, that God patiently waits for you. He’s your Father and He loves you so very much. He does not want you to go through your pain alone. He is tender and loving toward the brokenhearted.

Each time you face any sort of trial, both God and Satan wait to see which way you will turn. Turning away from God will continue to keep you in a state of hurt, anger, and self-pity. You become angry at Him, the world, and sometimes at those you love. Your pain is unfair and overwhelming, and you see no brighter days. You suffer alone and that is right where the enemy wants you.

With all that is going on in our world today, our only defense is God’s truth. I encourage you to spend more time with our heavenly Father. Be saturated with His truth and the idea of having joy during your trials will come to life. Jesus promised us peace when it did not make sense to the world, which is a direct result of having a personal and intimate relationship with Him. You will know His voice and your trust will grow. He will never let you down.

When the next trial comes your way, try to remember it is a training ground for spiritual growth. If we respond in the way God desires – a joyful attitude and a humble and submissive heart, He will help us to understand what He wants to accomplish in our lives. Our trials serve a purpose, trust God to show you how.

The best views come from the hardest climbs.

There is a Purpose. There is a Promise. There is Hope.