We will all suffer, we will all face trials, there is no escaping it. Though we all, at some point will suffer or face trials, there are ways to find joy in the midst of our trouble. When we go through those trials, we are not alone.
Traditionally my response to these kinds of statements is to roll my eyes and exclaim sarcastically, “tell me more Mother Teressa!” The idea of finding joy in the midst of suffering and trials is one of those things that is much easier to say than do, but the Bible challenges us to do it.
In the book of James, we are challenged to, “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.”
What I love about these verses is that we are told why. Why are we called to count it joy when we face trials, because we know that when our faith is tested, the result will be steadfastness. So, trials, like the pain of working out can eventually be enjoyed. We enjoy it, not because it feels good, but because it creates something good.
When we go through those trials, we are not alone. In the following verses we are challenged to ask for wisdom. When we ask for wisdom James tells us that “God, gives generously to all without reproach.” Why do we need wisdom? Simply put, we need wisdom to help us understand the things happening in our lives and in the lives of those around us. But when we ask for wisdom, James tells us to “ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
I read a story one time about a father and son. The father was, in all respects, a hero. He would go on wild adventures and ever since his son was just a little boy, he would take him on those adventures with him. One of the things they loved doing together was going skiing. They would go on some treacherous slops and the father would continually push the son to go down more challenging mountains. At times the son would wonder why his father was pushing him so hard, but he continued to remain obedient to his father. One day, after the son had received a big prize for winning a skiing competition, the father and son loaded up in a plane to fly over a mountain to retrieve this prize. On the way, the plane went down. The only one who survived was the son. After hours of waiting by the crash sight the son realized that if he didn’t leave, he would die. At that moment he began his decent. After a terrible journey down, the eleven-year-old boy made it to safety. It was after this experience that the boy realized how important it was that his father kept pushing him so hard. His father gave him the skills he needed to survive. Just like that father taught his son how to overcome trials, our Heavenly Father generously offers wisdom in the midst of trials.
So, be joyful in the midst of trials, because it produces steadfastness. When you go through those trails, ask God for wisdom, ask in faith without wavering, and God will give it to you generously.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!