I have been reflecting on Carol’s last post (this is Gabriella), and how we react in the midst of extra ordinary adversity. Doesn’t it feel like we are holding our breath, waiting for the wave to pass, to only then be hit by another wave? When we are experiencing pain, the farthest thing from our minds is the “ocean of God’s love.”
I think about a verse that was a favorite of my Aunt’s:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)
This just provides further evidence for the message of William Jay on the previous post, Proud of My Troubles?. Consider it pure joy to be bathed in God’s love as he shepherds us through hardship. Our weakness brings us closer to God as we have no choice but to lean on him.
But it still feels impossible to rejoice in our troubles! Who is saintly enough to consider trials to be JOYOUS?!
(This is Carol. It struck me as I read this that James never tells us to feel joyous under pressure. His focus is on the mind instead of emotions. Look at the terms used: Consider, Count (KJV). Consider it to be a joyful experience because the result will be more patience..and perhaps even more wisdom….more Christ-like character which is the Christian’s goal, after all. Consider and Count are definitely thinking words instead of feeling. The emotions are then stirred as Gabriella illustrates below.)
I am reminded of the children’s song In His Hands. Do you remember it? The refrain over and over again is “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” The song feels silly and childish now, but it is based on a fundamental truth – so basic that it brings immense comfort. He’s got ME in His hands. My troubles are in His hands. How wonderful it is to relax in His hands. And this is where I can start my rejoicing. God tasks us to be proud of our troubles, but does not leave us alone to put up a fight- he is there with us every step of the way. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus.