2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
I feel like it’s not an overreach to say that very few of us get excited by trials. Yet this passage tells us that we should consider the difficult things that come our way as pure joy. I may not have always felt happy in the hard seasons of my life, but upon reflection I can see that God has used them to develop and refine my character.
Specifically, I know that the trials of my life have produced:
– Humility: none of us escape life without experiencing hardship; in many ways trials can reduce our pride as we realise that regardless of who we are or what choices we have made, we are unable to save ourselves, in this life or for eternity.
– Fellowship: having community, family and friends to hold you up when you are in pain is pivotal. Many of my relationships have been deepened by the gracious support I have received from kind & loving people who were willing to sit in the mess with me.
– Reliance on God: how closely I have learnt to cling to God in times of trouble – there is nowhere else to go that can bring such peace & comfort.
God, I admit that I do not look or long for hardship and trials. But I thank you that you do not allow these difficult seasons to be wasted, that you use them to refine our character if we let them. Give us soft and faithful hearts, that we may run to you in times of trouble. Amen.
Written by Madelaine Tarasenko