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Finding Joy in Trials

One Year Bible Reading Plan and Devotional

Today’s Bible Reading: January 14

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Genesis 33-35

Matthew 11

Finding Joy in Trials

by guest writer, Fran Coffield

When Trials Come

Most of us would say the past year was a year of struggles, trials, doubts, and fears. Like many of you, I often felt confused and questioned “where is God in the midst of my pains?” There is a plaque on my desk that reads, “When life gets too hard to stand, kneel.” So, I knelt in many earnest prayers, and the more I prayed, additional trials arose. I sought answers from God’s Word.

Count it all Joy – even in the trials

James 1:2-3 says to “count it all joy when [not if…when] you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. However, my patience was so thin it could snap at any time. Should life be so hard for a Christian?

Lacking Wisdom

James 1:5 says, “If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God…” This I did and immediately John 16:33 came to mind where Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation.” Not very encouraging to a hurting soul! However, the end of His statement says, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Still, there was little cheer to be found when each day brought a new dilemma. In 2020, the husbands of two different friends died, a friend was in ICU with Covid 19, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer requiring a mastectomy, a family member with multiple medical conditions was put on dialysis which put a strain on each family member in the household, and the list continues…

Trials of people in the Bible

I recall the lives of many Biblical persons called by God for specific tasks and the trials each faced in their daily lives:

  • Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused of a crime, thrown into prison.
  • David was anointed king as a young shepherd boy but spent years hiding in fear from King Saul.
  • The apostle Paul was shipwrecked, bitten by a deadly snake, beaten and left for dead.
  • Naomi was left alone with no income after her husband and three sons died.
  • Mary was hailed as “highly favored,” yet had to witness the crucifixion of firstborn child.

Every Bible “hero” faced days of trails, doubts, and fears.

Is peace and joy possible in a world of trials?

So, is it possible to find peace and joy in this troubled world? Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” Worldly peace is not the absence of trials. God’s gift is peace in the midst of trails, heartaches, and confusion.

The Purpose of Trials

I found the answer to my questions while reading the MacArthur Study Bible. 1 Peter 1:1-9 reveals the purpose of God in allowing us to undergo difficulties, sorrows, and trials of many kinds is for me to test the reality of my faith. These verses say:

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

English Standard Version Bible

Five things to remember about trials

Once I come through the trial by trusting in God alone, I have the assurance that my faith is genuine and God’s word is truth. There are some points to remember that will give strength while the trials are present:

  1. Verse 6 reveals that troubles are for “a little while.” It may seem like forever, but the trouble will end.
  2. Every trouble has a purpose. Verse 6 says, “if need be.” There is a lesson to be learned in every trial.
  3. Verse six also tell us the trial will bring grief.
  4. There are various forms of trials. Not every person has the same trouble, nor need to learn the same lesson.
  5. The trouble should not lessen our joy. Joy is a gift of God that is possible for us even in the midst of sorrow and trials.

Our Testimony to the World when faced with Trials

The eyes of the world are upon the Christian. We have a great testimony when we can find joy through the grace of God in the midst of life’s storms. We can find strength by knowing Jesus is in the storm with us and will carry through it. I cling to the words of Isaiah 41:9b-10 which state, “Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am THY God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (KJV)

Do you have the eyes of a friend, a neighbor, a relative or a co-worker upon you to witness how you handle the storms in your life?

#ReadYourBible #Genesis #Matthew

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