“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”—James 1:2 (NIV).
Joy may seem out of reach for those who are suffering during the current pandemic. I can understand, and I pray for those whose trials are greater than mine.
As I spend time with my Heavenly Father each morning, I lift in prayer those who are on the front lines. They include medical personnel, first responders, law enforcement, truck drivers, grocery store employees, and others required to work during this time.
Despite the fact I can’t visit my grandchildren and hug them right now, I consider myself blessed. I work from home, so I’m used to isolation. I do, however, miss attending church in person, having lunch with friends, shopping for nonessentials, and inviting friends over for a meal.
The Right Perspective
Like many people, there are times I wish I could escape during difficult trials. Right now, I’d love to shop without fear of being exposed to a deadly disease. I wear a mask and disposable gloves. When I arrive home, I sanitize each item I’ve purchased. I’m still trying to find the joy during the arduous process of cleaning my purchases.
However, I’ve found joy during a 20-second hand washing. Did you know saying the Lord’s Prayer takes 20 seconds? While thoroughly scrubbing my hands, I draw closer to God as I recite the prayer Jesus taught His disciples.
As I’m praying, I can view my backyard from the kitchen sink. Peace settles over me as I watch the birds seeking sustenance at my feeders. I smile at the antics of the squirrels chasing each other around a tree trunk. My joy returns as I realize that whatever happens, God is with me—always.
Trials can be a Blessing
How do you respond when things happen outside of your control? Do you complain? Venting on social media or arguing with others who have a different viewpoint, doesn’t change the situation. You might feel temporary satisfaction, but does it bring you lasting happiness?
Trials, however long they last, can in fact, be a tremendous blessing. It requires us to see trials through God’s perspective. He allows trials in our lives to help us grow, to mature spiritually.
We’ll never grow in our walk with Christ without trials. Through them, God teaches us and guides us to become the person He wants us to be. This is one of the greatest blessings we can ever receive.
Counting our Blessings
As friends and I have discussed this challenging time in our history, we’ve discovered some things in common. While not everyone will experience the same blessings, if we look for them, they are there.
Busy families on the run with their children’s varied activities are now eating at their own dinner table together. Instead of grabbing fast food while traveling to events, they’re enjoying a less harried lifestyle.
More people are riding bicycles and getting out in nature for walks. I’ve heard remarks from those who have been doing this. They’re surprised by the variety of wildlife and flora they’ve overlooked in their need to be on the go. Routines have been turned upside down.
What Will Be the New Normal?
I pray after this trial passes, we will re-evaluate our priorities. Will we return to our harried lifestyles, always on the move, never stopping to enjoy God’s creation? How will our relationships with family members change? Will our plans include spending more quality time together?
What choices will we make to spend more time with God? Will we rise earlier to seek His face? How will we take what we’ve learned during this trial and use it for His Kingdom?
Instead of complaining, will we count it all as joy that we experienced and survived this epic trial? Regardless of our circumstances, will we now understand the need to trust God? He’s already won the victory. Let us rejoice and be glad for trials.