Do you Trust Enough to have Joy?
I feel like I’ve gone through a number of trials in the last couple of years.
I became deathly ill and almost died… and after planning to spend a year in Ukraine with my missionary parents to recover from the illness, God allowed a war to break out 2 months after we moved to Ukraine. We were not able to stay in Ukraine, and had to quickly make alternative arrangements.
We ended up bouncing around Europe and South Africa for a couple of months before eventually returning to Australia, where we faced a new problem. We had come back to a city in the middle of a rental crisis, and at the time, my body was still too weak to work.
One of the Bible passages that I kept coming back to is James 1:2-4, which says,
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
This is radical language. “PURE JOY” he says. It is hard to consider something pure joy when it is the opposite of easy, but that is the instruction.
The only way that we can do this is to trust God. Not only to trust him with our eternal destiny, but to trust him with our present. To trust him so wholly that even when we are suffering, even when life is hard, even when we are in the middle of a trial, we have faith that God is in control and that he is, as it says in Romans 8:28, “working all things together for the good of those who love him.”
This is simultaneously scary and delightful. Scary, because it is hard to trust God this much. Delightful, because God says that we can (and should) trust him this much. God is calling us to live as winners. To, as it says in Romans 5:3-4, “Glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope… (in Jesus).”
God is inviting us to be so confident in him that regardless of what befalls us, we have peace and joy. This is radical trust. Life-altering trust. This is trust that changes the way that you live, not just the way that you die.
I can testify that God has blessed my through the trials of the last couple of years, even though I have not always glorified him by rejoicing in trust before I saw what he was doing. He has worked miraculously, a number of times, and my faith in him has grown. My confidence in him has become more secure. My trust is deeper because of the trials that he allowed me to go through and the ways that he has demonstrated his faithfulness. I am able to glorify him more. If you are interested, ask me about the miracles that God did these last couple of years, I’d love to share them with you so that your trust in God might be strengthened!
Let me finish with these words from Romans 8:31-32.
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?