The children in my church love to sing action songs. With joy and enthusiasm, they act out the lyrics. Seeing their exuberant childlike faith, I’m challenged to believe that because Jesus is with me, I can rejoice in the trials and pains of life.
But the reality is often something far different. While going through a storm, I find it difficult—impossible even— to sing or smile. Yet the apostle Paul proclaimed, “We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials” (Romans 5:3). He asks us to consider what our trials are designed to accomplish in us and for us. For they come to develop our endurance and strength of character and they grow and mature us through the process (Romans 5:3-4).
The apostle James also insisted that trials are good for us: “When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:3-4).
One thing I’ve learned is that God takes me through my trials; He doesn’t always remove them (2 Corinthians 12:8-10). Perseverance, not deliverance, is God’s preferred training method. David described this kind of perseverance when he declared to God, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). He knew that his heavenly Father was with him.
God lovingly allows what we face each day (Jeremiah 10:23), and He’s with us as we face the joy, challenges, and pain of life. As we rest in His love and provision (Romans 5:5), we can “consider [our trials] an opportunity for great joy” by His strength and power (James 1:2).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 16:16-40
Read 1 Peter 1:6-7 and James 1:12 and consider what’s in store for those who endure testing through their faith in Jesus.
How do God’s love and the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) help you endure and even rejoice in trials? How does Jesus’ example encourage you to walk in joy today?