The Joy of Trials

Article written by Mark Barr, Church Administrator

James 1:2-8 (NASB) have been “go to” verses for me for years. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” 

I’ve memorized and meditated on these verses and find them challenging and comforting at the same time. How do you find joy during trials? I have experienced joy when the Holy Spirit helps me weather trials, but I still find it challenging to experience joy in the midst of a trial. 

One of the first things I do when a trial approaches is to ask God for wisdom. I seek discernment to understand whether the event occurring is a test of faith, a temptation from the enemy, circumstances of someone’s poor decisions (such as generational sin), a consequence of someone’s sin (such as pride or obsessive control), or an opportunity from God to build endurance. Some events are a combination of the aforementioned. Wisdom through prayer helps navigate the trials, temptations, or consequences of poor judgement on another’s part. 

In today’s world with a pandemic and an economy under stress we are collectively experiencing trials; opportunities abound for us to build spiritual endurance. Do I binge watch a Netflix series to escape or reach out to a brother or sister in Christ that may be floundering or would like to be encouraged through discipleship? Do I build up more savings or invest more in the Kingdom of God? Do I surf social media or focus on His Word? My prayer for each of us is that our focus will be on the Lord as we still ourselves and know that He is our sovereign God. May we all find joy during our trials.