Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. — James 1:2-3 (NASB)
A few years ago, I was out of work. That was bad enough. Then in the span of three days, the den flooded, the dog had a stroke, and my computer died. You’re probably thinking, “Is that all? It could’ve been much worse!” Yes, the dog could’ve died, and the whole house could’ve flooded. I was blessed. But I’m also sparing you a few other gory details.
The trials derailed me for a couple of weeks. The prayers and encouragement from friends helped. But I had to reconcile what lessons I was supposed to learn. We all experience setbacks, but to have three biggies in three days sent me reeling. In case you’re ever in the same boat — and let’s hope it’s not a literal boat with all of the rain we’ve had — maybe these ideas will help you get back on track, too.
1. Trials may be attacks.
Are you in the smack dab middle of a big project for God’s kingdom? Are you making headway? If Satan can set you back with personal problems, it keeps you from working for the Lord. I had to tell myself that the Evil One can attack, but he cannot win.
2. Trials make us more compassionate.
Are you like me? My best and worst trait is that I focus on the goal. Too much focusing makes me less likely to notice or feel the pain others have. I actually once said to someone mourning the loss of a pet, “It’s a cat. Get over it.” God, please forgive me for being so unfeeling. I know how I wanted people to respond when I told them about my situation, so now I have words to say in sympathy.
3. Trials are a blessing.
I Thessalonians 5:18 said, “In everything give thanks.” It’s hard to give thanks when you are in denial, angry, worried and sad. But if the only purpose of the trial is to remind us that we live in a fallen world, then we can still give thanks. This world may stink, but what a reminder of the perfect paradise where we are headed.
I pray that your trials, like mine, are not too serious—but challenging enough to develop dependence on the Lord, compassion for others, and determination to keep working for the kingdom.
By the way, the dog lived another year, I recovered a few computer files, and the den looked better without the soggy old carpet. God is good.
Lorri Allen is news director for KYTX CBS19.