When I was diagnosed with a rare blood disease, my world fell apart. In a short time, I went from thinking I was perfectly fine to finding out I have an invader in my blood that I cannot fight, and I was told that carrying a baby would be too risky. All that I had planned for my future as a newly married woman came crashing down, and suddenly I was left in the rubble, not sure how to feel or think. All I knew was that I wanted to cry and somehow get up to Heaven to punch God. (I know, ridiculous!)
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2).
Seriously? Verses like that just sting so badly when you are in the midst of struggles. How am I supposed to find any hint of joy when I find out that being a mother naturally isn’t going to happen? When I feel like less of a woman because I can’t fully do my part in the marriage?
Joy is the last thing from my mind.
But it should be the first.
If you read on in James, here is what joy in the midst of trials brings: “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” (James 1:2-4)
While I don’t believe we need to jump up and down smiling and giggling through a trial, we need to be rejoicing and praising God for what He will grow and produce in us as a result of it.
I am always amazed at the patients in the hospital with terminal cancer who are making the most of their final days by sharing the good news of Christ with the staff, writing blogs or letters to others about how God has been faithful in their lives, and encouraging other patients in the same situation. At a time where they are facing sure death, so many of these incredible people are doing the exact opposite of what I would want to do, and they are rejoicing in God’s faithfulness.
Did they still feel the weight of death on their shoulders and have moments of breaking down?
Did Christ face the weight of what would happen to him on the Christ before he died?
But these patients are taking this verse from James seriously. And Christ is glorified through that.
When I look at the trials my husband and I as a couple faced during the time of our doctors visits surrounding my diagnosis, I wish so badly we had taken more time to be obedient and praise God for how He would use this trial in the future. Because if that diagnosis hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be watching my beautiful little Colombian princesses play in our backyard. I wouldn’t have met the incredible moms of their older biological sisters. I possibly might not even be writing. As a result of that trial, an incredible beauty rose from the ashes.
Dear friends, I don’t know what trial you are going through today. You may have lost a loved one, be struggling through a divorce, or be hearing the life-changing news of a diagnosis. Or perhaps you are just trying to breathe on a very difficult day. I encourage you to take a moment, even if you don’t feel like it, and thank God for your trial. Ask Him to give you the courage to face it head on and to give you peace that He will use this trial for good. His plan is greater than ours. This moment you are going through is a snapshot in a much larger story. You may not even see how He uses your struggles for His glory, but trust that no matter what, you will gain steadfastness that will lead you to being complete and lacking for nothing.