Blog #29- Strength in Trials (Part I)
I didn’t grow up using an iron. Maybe I wore wrinkle free clothing or just didn’t care, but I never operated one until college… the day my roommate was in a wedding, to be exact. That morning she asked if I would iron her dress. Sure, I thought. How hard could it be? She handed me a bright green, taffeta gown and said, “Make sure you iron it cool.”
That was my first mistake.
I didn’t clarify her instructions. Being too embarrassed to admit my lack of experience, I assumed she meant for me to iron it to look cool. Odd, I thought. Were there ways to iron something to make it not look cool? Nonetheless, I turned the iron on and set the dress on the board.
As I placed the (hot) iron on the skirt, it immediately caught on the fabric. Instinctively, I pulled up the iron and along with it came the skirt that had been suddenly and permanently melted to the iron’s plate. I was able to peel the dress off, leaving a gaping hole (the size of an iron) on the front of the skirt.
Let’s just say all the bridesmaids carried their bouquets below the waistline that day.
Clarifying can make a big difference. If we miss the mark from the beginning, we might miss a lot! There’s a Bible passage that is often misunderstood and, as a result, leaves us missing its great worth.
“Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
At first glance, verse 2 can read that we should be joyful about trials. This must be for the super spiritual. For those who look hardship in the eye and say, “Praise Jesus!”
I have three words for that: No. Thank. You. I will never be super spiritual, and I hate trials.
If verse 2 is misread, we often stop there. If we do press on to verse 3, we halt at perseverance.Yuck! Who likes that?! Amazingly, if we make it to verse 4, we arrive at being mature, complete and not lacking anything. The problem is, if loving trials and perseverance is the prerequisite to maturity, we give up.
These verses appear to be loaded with negative connotation, but they shouldn’t be. Verse 4 is a promise and it’s God’s desire for us! So, let’s start reading verse 2 correctly, so we can achieve the intended goal in verse 4.
We are not being asked to consider our trials pure joy, rather the facing of those trials. There’s a difference. The joy, pure joy to be exact, comes from knowing that Jesus will see you through the trial and make you better in the process.
So, let me paraphrase these verses: Consider it pure joy when you get the opportunity to trust Jesus with a trial. We don’t take joy in the trial, but in the opportunity to trust Him with the trial.
Remember there are no trials where Jesus tells us to fend for ourselves. Or trials that are too devastating for anything good to occur. Every affliction gives us the opportunity to trust Jesus and, if we choose to trust Him, there is a 100% success rate that He will bring us through it and positively refine us in the process.
So, what does it look like to trust Him with a trial? I will answer that in the next blog. For now, let’s pinpoint what is considered pure joy.
We have a Heavenly Father who cannot not be faithful to us! If we trust Him, we are guaranteed to not only survive the hardship, but be better for it.
That’s joy. Pure joy.
Take a moment to reframe your trial as an opportunity to trust Him, knowing He will take your trust and do something significant with it.
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