“My brethren, count it all JOY when you fall into various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” James 1: 2 – 3
The moment I returned from my second excursion of the day, my four-year-old granddaughter asked, “Will you stay home now?”
I replied, “I don’t know yet.”
It was women’s bible study night, and as much as she wanted a playmate, I was not sure I should stay home.
This precious little child kept repeating her question, begging to hear the answer she desired.
At one point I responded, “I need to go to Bible study tonight.”
She replied, “You don’t need to go out to study your Bible, just take it into your room.”
She tugged my heart strings. Now I was torn, but I felt the Lord nudging me to go and I needed to obey.
Finally, the clock told me time was up and a decision had to be made. I gave my granddaughter her bad news, which she received much better than I expected. She did follow with a serious command to hurry back to play with her.
Upon entering the church, there were a few people in the line to get a name tag. I glanced into the sanctuary and thought I saw someone I used to know. Instead of waiting for the name tag, I headed through the door. To my great delight, my eyes had not deceived me. What a joyful reunion we had!
God’s blessings did not end there. Halfway through the opening worship, my granddaughter’s words came back to me, “You don’t need to go out to study your Bible, just take it into your room.” When I realized what her words actually meant, I was overwhelmed with joy.
I have been taking my granddaughter to church and teaching her to pray since she was born. Her parents want no part of it. Six months ago, they came to stay for a weekend and have not left. This adventure has been one of the hardest trials I have ever been through. It has brought me to my knees in utter frustration so often. As much as I strive to walk in the Lord’s plan and be a light to this precious soul and her parents, I have fallen short more times than I like to admit.
But on this day, God chose to show me the joy in this trial. I am in His plan, yet the battle is his. He gave me a glimpse of the fruit being produced. The patience produced in these times comes when we realize God is fighting the battle. So, yes, we should count it all joy. “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” Proverbs 21:31. He wants us to make plans and be prepared for anything, but put our trust in Him.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40
My strength has been re-newed. I almost missed the message. With all the books and notebooks I have about the house, she knows exactly which one is my Bible. And she knows that I study it everyday. She was right, I didn’t need to go out to study my Bible. God wanted me at Bible study to be still long enough for the gift of my granddaughter’s words to sink in. She sees what I do every morning and she senses how important it is to me.
God also wanted me to see my old friend. We parted ways years ago and I convinced myself it was her fault. At the Good Friday Service, just a few days before this encounter, we were instructed to ask the Lord if there was anyone we still needed to reconcile with. I did ask, but nothing came to me. This night I have an answer. On the way home from Bible study, He showed me I was the one in the wrong and I need to reconcile with her. Immediately I contacted her.
Count it all Joy. Oh how many times I have repeated this to myself in the past six months. The testing of our faith teaches us not to be fixers. That job belongs to the Lord. We are to remain faithful, allow God to prune us as He wishes, be patient while waiting for results, trust Him with all our hearts, and let His light shine through us. “There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel – that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
The patience produced in these times comes when we realize God is fighting the battle. So, yes, we should count it all joy. “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.” Proverbs 21:31. He wants us to make plans and be prepared for anything, but put our trust in Him.
I am not only counting it all joy, I am counting blessings. When we go through we need to praise, thank Him and obey. Glory be to God who loves us so much, even in our failings. He is loving and merciful.
I hope as you go through your own trials you see reason for joy and these words of Peter help carry you through:
“that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6