Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. (James 1:2).
Despite anything that happens which might seem negative in the eyes of others and even to you, you have to believe that as long as you walk with God you are always a winner. This was the mindset of the early believers and disciples of Christ. They considered death a positive where others would have taken it as a negative.
No one knows the end of a thing better than God. Even on the cross the devil thought he had won but God showed once again that even the worst nightmare could become the greatest good. I remember when Phillip went up to Nathanael telling him that they have found the messiah, Nathanael replied, “Can anything good come out from Nazereth” (John 1:45-46). I guess Nathanael finally got an answer to his question but is another justification to the fact that it is not how you start but how you end. In fact, it might not be how you end but how you finish. Jesus ended on the cross but He still lives on as His works and words are still in our hearts and minds. Therefore, though His first assignment has ended, Jesus is not finished because His legacy lives on. The message of a crucified messiah was a devasting message to many but a few held their hopes up high that this is not defeat but the beginning of victory. This is what we should hold on to, because even though we might be facing trials and having though times as long as we walk with God and do His will, then there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. (Romans 8:28)
Therefore, consider it joy in the midst of trials and bad situations. I am not saying be a robot, as control of emotions can be both difficult and takes time. However, even when we get upset at certain situations or challenges; at our calm moment(s) we can be joyous believing that God is working something out for us. When there seem to be no hope remember that you serve a God that creates hope where there is no hope, fixating your eyes again on the cross and the message of hope which it always brings. Jesus even at the eve of his crucifixion, though his mind was troubled, still held his calm and prayed that Gods will be done and the glory of God be shown through Him.
I guess the biggest question is could there be victory for me in this situation? The bible has countless amount of stories which can boost our faith as well as the already aforementioned about Christ.
- Abraham: Being asked to sacrifice his only son. One which he had waited so many years for. In his obedience became the father of many children. (Genesis 22).
- Joseph: Being sent to Israel for slavery and later becoming the prime minister of Egypt. Where he was a foreigner, a former slave and prisoner. (Genesis 37, Genesis 39, Genesis 41:40-42)
- The Israelites: They were being chased by Pharoah’s army and had gotten to a dead end (the red sea), many of them were scared and some thought it was a better idea to stay back but then God made a way where there was no way by splitting the red sea into two and providing dry land for them to walk through (Exodus 14).
- Daniel: Being thrown into the lions den for his faith and belief in the Lord and at the end of the day came out without a scratch (Daniel 6). Also, with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego being thrown into the blazing furnace without being burnt (Daniel 3).
- The man blind from death (John 9): This is another amazing scripture about a man blind from death probably given up hope of ever seeing and Jesus stepped into his situation.
(NOTE: These stories have been greatly summarised please see scriptural reference for full account of these stories).
Hebrews 11 is a wonderful scripture that details men of faith. In all of these stories there is something similar to all of them.
- A dead end situation. i.e a trial
- A test from God which normally has to do with Obedience to God’s word.
- When the test was passed there was victory attached and some form of glory.
So this should be the reason for your hope and joy in times of trials. When they come think about the fact that there just is some glorification/victory that awaits me. In that case be sober and always listen out for some form of instruction, be calm and very vigilant. When the instruction comes then obey (it might be tough but remember there is victory at the end). In your trying times always remember that you are always a winner when you have Christ. This should be your source of Joy. Lastly, I believe the biggest lesson from the cross is that the best package could come in the worst wrapping, don’t just toss it out and dismiss it as junk there is a reason for everything (Isaiah 53:2-4). In essence, your trial could just be your blessing, don’t toss it out but try to understand why you are going through it and then find a means of escape, which is found in Christ who is the way ( John 14:6).