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. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. - James 1: 2-4 NIV
TRIAL: a person, thing, or situation that tests a person's endurance or forbearance.
nuisance, pest, irritant, problem, ordeal, inconvenience, plague, thorn in one's side, one's cross to bear; bore; pain, pain in the neck, pain in the butt, headache, drag, bother, nightmare, albatross; trouble, anxiety, worry, burden, affliction, ordeal, tribulation, adversity, hardship, trying time, tragedy, trauma, setback, difficulty, problem, misfortune, hassle;
I’ve got a long way to go, BUT, I’ve also come a LONG WAY in counting the trials of life as “Pure Joy.” I ADMIT....It takes me a while when I am in the middle of a battle to calm down, get a grip, step back and realize that God is moving me, that He is about to bless me. It is especially hard to do when I feel like I am being hit from all sides. I have discovered that when God creates or restructures, HE will allow your foundation to be SHAKEN. Even the secular World refers to the time God was creating the entire Universe as “THE BIG BANG” theory. When our Creator changes a situation, EVERYONE feels it! Whether you are a Believer or not… HIS MOVING HAND will be felt. I am not saying God causes chaos, because HE doesn’t. The enemy is a deceiver. Satan kills, steals and destroys. There is no doubt about it, Satan loves to cause chaos. That devil loves drama and turmoil. However, with GOD… we Believers are more than conquerers. We can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. God will help us in our times of need, if we call upon Him, trust HIM and have faith that HE is in control of EVERYTHING!
I have seen my faith mature through life's trials. I’ve come to realize, that God uses these hard times. That is where I have learned to be JOYOUS. Excitement and peace during challenging times comes in knowing that GOD is producing a SURPRISE GIFT! A present I would have never dreamt of, nor asked for because I become complacent and satisfied with less than what God wants for me. These great, life changing blessings can not come without allowing other events to happen first. Our trials are examples how God can take our mistakes, our failings, things thrown at us to harm us, cause stress or suppress us and turn them all around to bless us, if we love, trust and lean on HIM during the chaos.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” - Psalm 46:10 NIV
An important thing which happens during life’s trials, I have discovered, is that they change US. You can allow yourself to be broken or strengthen, become scurrilous and malicious or more devout and steadfast in your faith. The other morning during my time with God, I was reminded about some of the trials I have weathered and their outcome because of my submission to HIM during them. Let me not paint a false picture here, I am ashamed to admit that during these trials I have cried like a baby, pouted, stomped my feet and at times wanted to rock back and forth into a fetal position. Thankfully, there came a time I kicked myself in the butt, wriped away the tears and earnestly trusted God for HIS help.
There was a time, very early during my marriage, when we went through total financial devastation. The enormous amount of debt and lack of income was wreaking havoc on us. I was young, in my 20s, and totally unprepared to handle the type of pressure I was placed under. That severe compression made me turn to The ONE, who I was taught as a child, is ALL KNOWING, ALL SEEING, ALL HEARING, ALL COMFORTING, ALL POWERFUL; ALL ALMIGHTY GOD.
I may have been young and what some saw as dumb, but I was wise enough to know I needed to fall on my knees and ask for God’s help and guidance, which I did. I confessed that my life was in a mess and that I needed His help. After a full day of pounding the pavement in my high-heels to put in job applications on Nashville’s Music Row, I came upon the offices of a friend and her partner, Doyle-Lewis Management. Bob Doyle and Pam Lewis were managing partners over the careers of Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood at the time. I had not seen Pam in a couple of years and I wasn’t sure if she was in or had time to see me, but I was moved to try. That frustrating and blistering day not only helped to change the direction of our financial situation, but it had a lasting impact upon my life. Pam Lewis not only gave me a job, she taught me a profession. A trade that I have a passion for, PR and Marketing. In hindsight, I see how if it were not for our dire financial situation, if it were not for the extreme pressure I was placed under, if it were not for all the ugliness, I would have never walked into her offices and humbly begged for a job. God used that trial to move me where HE wanted me and for my good.
Another testing which came to my mind took place many years later when I was 42. During a time I thought life could not get any better, my marriage had not only just survived and healed from the hit of infidelity, but it seemed stronger than ever, we were finally blessed with a healthy and happy son, blessed financially, and then BAM!!!! , our home was hit by a F3 tornado. On that Spring day of April 7, 2006, which started out sunny and unassuming, our home and property was totally devastated. That life threatening event had us walking around in shock for months and out of our home for a year. Because of my maturing faith, from the time that vortex entered the grounds until we celebrated our homecoming, I dropped to my knees many times in prayer and called upon THE ALMIGHTY’s protection, guidance, help and blessings. Though it took a lot of hard work and a long time, the house and property ended up being bigger, nicer and worth more than it had ever been, which ended up being a blessing to me and my family. It was not until some time later that I was able to look back and see that if it were not for that destructive tornado, we would have never spent the time, money and hard work to change our home. God did not send that storm, but it didn't take HIM by surprise either. It took God allowing our home to be knocked down for us to trust HIM to build it back better, stronger, nicer and more valuable, and HE did.
I have experienced many other testings throughout my life, like we all do. I’ve come to realize that is what life is all about. God is moving us, reshaping us and our surroundings. He is maturing us. God allows bad things to enter the lives of those who love Him to draw them closer to HIM. He allows undue pressures to move us, to teach us, to grow us as persons as well as grow our faith. God allows tornados to knock us down and sometime tear us wide open, so HE can make our lives better, stronger, nicer and more valuable. Nothing takes HIM by surprise. In fact, He is already placing people in your life to address things to come. Because of these past experiences, I have learned to anticipate God’s blessings when I am in the midst of turbulence. God has a plan, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future.
OH, I can’t wait to see what unfolds!!!!