“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”
We live in difficult times. How do we deal with the fear and suffering that have entrenched themselves so firmly in our world today?
- THE REALITY WE’RE CALLED TO FACE.
“When you meet trials of various kinds.” We’re not exempt from trials; trials, troubles and tribulations are the common lot of humanity (Ecclesiastes 9:1,2; 1 Corinthians 10:13). In fact, we’re destined for them (John 16:33; Romans 8:35, 36; Philippians 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 3:4).
- THE RESPONSE WE’RE CALLED TO MAKE.
“Count it all joy.” We can choose to be fearful and bitter in the face of trials, to wallow in self-pity and depression. But when we do that we only make matters worse by incapacitating ourselves, spiritually speaking. We weaken ourselves by feeding our bitterness and depression and all the more we are overcome (Proverbs 18:14). Worst of all, we dishonor God (1 Corinthians 13:5). But when rejoice in the midst of our trials, we not only honor God, we also encourage others to trust him (Acts 16:25, 30; Philippians 4:4; 1:3, 18).
“All joy.” Rejoicing in the midst of trials should not be half-hearted; we should go all out (Psalm 103:1; Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:18)!
“Count, consider.” What we focus on when troubles come will determine what our response will be. If we focus on how unfair, unjust and catastrophic our circumstances are, then we will go under. But if we focus on God’s good purposes in allowing these trials to take place, we will not only survive, we will thrive and rejoice (Acts 5:41, 42; Philippians 1:12-14; Genesis 50:15, 19-21; Jeremiah 29:10-14).
Could it be that through our trials God intends to work out salvation for us and others?
(TO BE CONTINUED)