i definitely can't say that i am grown up and mature enough yet to be joyful every single time that a trial arises in my life. but, i have progressed a little. most of the time i seem to be able to recognize the trials that arise in my life for what they are; opportunities! opportunities for me to be able to completely depend on God, trust Him to bring me through them, and grow in my understanding of Who He is and His amazing love for me. when i think back on how i would have handled hard times before, i feel like i somewhat naively just stuck my head in the sand and pretended that the problem was not there. you know if you don't admit there is a problem then you don't have to deal with it. or, i would close my eyes, tap my feet together three times and say, "there's no place like home." well, not really. but it kind of felt like that is what i was doing because i thought that if i just prayed hard enough and believed God enough that He was going to send a miracle my way and deliver me from the problem that was before me.
i have come to realize that problems seldom go away on their own and most of the time God does not show up on a white horse, smooth out my problems and then carry me away into heavenly bliss on this earth. what usually happens is that He carries me through the issues and teaches me many things along the way, which is why i can now see them as opportunities. in recognizing that, i am beginning to be more interested in the lesson that i am going to learn in the midst of my trial rather than just getting frustrated that it exists and being overwhelmed with having to deal with it. i find myself thinking, "what do i need to learn here, Lord? i am open and willing to see where i need to grow because i know that you will not leave me to handle this on my own. please help me!" once i switch gears and get my head out of the sand and off of the problem and fix my gaze on God, i get some breathing room or at least enough perspective to see as far as the next step because He illuminates my pathway.
james 1:2-4 says, "count it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." i really do want to move to the level of joy when i encounter trials and temptations in my life because i can see and recognize the opportunity to be side by side with the Lord as He guides me through them and enables me to shine His glory in my life allowing me to grow up in all things lacking in nothing. i am thoroughly convinced that if i truly knew that He was going to see me through whatever circumstances come my way and that i was being given opportunity for His mercy and grace to shine in me, i would celebrate every appearing trial that comes my way. i would definitely .......................
count it all joy!
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