Joy in Various Trials
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.
Tuesday, Sixth Week of Easter
Come, my Light, and illumine my darkness.
Come, my Life and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns
of my sins, kindling my heart with the flame of your love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there.
For You alone are my King and my Lord. Amen
(Dimitri of Rostov, 1651-1709)
Joy in trials? Is that even possible? It seems a stretch when you think of all the stress and hardships that people go through in life. God’s Word invites us to “count it all joy…when you meet trials of various kinds.”
What trials are we talking about? Here’s a list that many of us are experiencing:
- Corona virus (testing positive or trying to avoid it)
- Economic challenges due to job loss or reduced income
- The Stay-at-home vs. Re-open dilemma
- Parents pulling their hair out over their home-schooled children(!!)
- Bad haircuts(??)
- Social isolation
- Identity theft
- Dealing with health issues in a COVID-19 environment
- Death of a loved one
To try to persuade people to be joyful about the challenges they are going through seems a little too bright when dark is the day.
I know that because I have my own moments when challenges threaten to overwhelm.
Case in point, today someone spoofed my email account and sent bogus messages to many people in the congregation pretending to be me, but actually wanting to rip people off. Was that my joy? I have to admit, I did not consider it so. (By the way, please DO NOT “text me back” or “do me a favor” like buy Ebay Gift Cards for cancer patients or perform any other monetary transactions–it’s not from me!!)
On top of that my 88-year-old mother-in-law had necessary but dangerous surgery today. Dangerous because of her age and health condition. My wife decided to fly out to be with her. Was that my joy? I have to admit, I understood and was supportive, but also have been in prayer for their sake. Concern and hopefulness, yes. Joy? Don’t think so.
Then on top of that, my wife and I are closing on the sale of our house on May 28th so that we can purchase a property to put a house on like we had planned to do a year ago. Do I consider moving a joy? Not at all. Been there, done that. Not a fan! Yet here we are adding a self-imposed layer of stress into our lives.
Yet my “trials” seem petty in comparison with others, maybe even yours. What are you facing right now? Are you counting it all joy? My guess is that you find it a struggle.
I’m also aware that the challenges that we face in the United States are NOTHING compared to the challenges that others face in the rest of the world. Some people are facing death and persecution because of the name of Jesus. Millions are not free to talk about Jesus for fear that their loved ones will be murdered or imprisoned. On top of that, billions of people don’t have a fraction of what we have, and many of them live in completely impoverished conditions in unsanitary and overcrowded areas.
Whatever various trials you face that test faith can be counted as a joy for one very important reason. Jesus has rescued you from eternal death and given you life. All the trials we face in life are nothing compared with the glory that we will experience when Jesus comes again.
Our task today? Leave our burdens and challenges at the foot of the cross, and rest assured that Jesus bore the cross for your sake. He overcomes every challenge that we face, with his glorious grace. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and the troubles of this world grow strangely dim….and there is joy!
Here’s a video that might brighten your day. “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by the Living Stones Quartet.
In the joy of the Lord,
Pastor Langdon Reinke
P.S. Hope you and your family are healthy and safe. We are in this together. We have help available if there are needs. Please let us know.