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Joy Part 5: Rejoicing in Trials

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.

James 1:2-4

There is a profound quote that says, "Beautiful souls are shaped by ugly experiences." Trials are easy when they are happening to someone else. We give great advice; we offer counsel; we pray fervently ... and then it happens to us--and everything falls apart. All the counsel, all the advice, and all the prayers just don't seem to work. Not every trial is the big trial, but when that one comes, its not so easy to be joyful.

Once again, we must say that joy is not happiness. When we talk of joy in trials it does not mean that a person is happy and walking around with a big grin on their face. That would be weird. Trials can be very painful. They can deal with a gambit of emotions or feelings that can leave us feeling bewildered. Joy comes for the believer from the absolute assurance that God is in control over everything and is with us in every circumstance.

In the passage above, the writer tells us another reason we can rejoice. Trials do something. They make us grow. There is no growth without pain and no pain without loss. Pain is the process of growth. As we have discussed before, painful trials tend to help us see things from a different perspective. When a real trial hits, we see in a moment of time what is truly important to us--relationships. Nothing else makes a difference. And when we face a trial, we also see where we are lacking inside. We are like muddy puddles. When everything is calm, the water sits still and beautiful on top of the mud. But when we step in the puddle, the mud mixes with the water and reveals just how dirty the puddle is. That is what trials do to us. They step in lives and reveal just how messed up we are.

God has a design. He works these things in our lives so that we may let go of ourselves and let God be our Savior. We learn to trust Him more and more, and through that process we are given endurance, character and hope. As our faith grows, we are filled with all joy and peace because the God of hope is with us, and we know that nothing and no one will ever separate us from His love. That is when we have joy in the midst of our trials.

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