About 3 weeks ago, I had a few days that went like this: my 4 year old daughter goes to dentist, and she has a cavity. It has to be filled by the pediatric dentist and they will give her sedation. This was a little un-nerving for this first timer. Then my husband truck is stolen from our drive way. We find out that it was used to traffice illegals. Also another un-nerving moment for me, as I think about the lives of those people who were crammed into our truck. Then a day or two passes, and my car will not start. I sat there stunned and ready to cry, and did a little. Conclusion, my life was ready to start my new Bible study: When life is hard, by James Mcdonald.
I actually had a good laugh after I stopped crying! It was like God was saying I have a few things I want to teach you. I am learning about life in the midst of trial. I love the definition that the study applies to trial. Trial is defined as: a painful circumstance allowed by God to change our conduct or character. I love the idea of being refined to become a better person, but wouldn't it be nice if there was no suffering involved? However, the Bible is clear without suffering there is no endurance, which leads to character, which leads to hope. (Romans Chpt 5)
The study has asked me to identify trials in my life and my reactions to them. This has been an interesting discovery for me. It sounds crazy I know, but I am having a hard time defining the trials of my life. Well, I can identify the trials that have been heartbreaking, or devistaing. My reaction to most really big trials are the same. I pray, I tell myself over and over and over again that God is in control and He is good and loving, and I am going to make it. This is a good thing. The problem comes with my view of the small trials, and daily annoyances. Each of which I can't say I define them as trials, I have always just considered them life. I have never considered the impact of the small circumstances that can shape conduct and character. I have just dealt with them.
Naturally, I am asking myself now, what are the daily or weekly trials that I am experiencing that I have not previously noticed? This parallels one of the points from a previous study. That point being that God is concerned with all of my concerns. He wants to be involved in the small trials and the big trials. I DO NOT GET TO CHOOSE where God can be! That saying Let go and let God is almost ridiculous. Like we LET GOD do anything. Now, I am not saying that we don't need to let go and let God. On the contrary I think we often stand in the way of what could be done much more effieciently if we accepted that we must be obedient to God.
Then what do we do as we are in trial and sharing our concerns with God. Well this verse is pretty clear: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds." James 1:2
Sounds like a crazy idea, having joy in the midst of a trial. However, if we are obediently trusting in God during a trial we can have supernatural joy. That is to say joy that comes directly from the Holy Spirit. It is kind of like the verse in Ephesians that says you can have the peace that surpasses all understanding. That kind of peace can only come from something greater than anyone can muster alone.
I guess I am going to have to make some changes when I meet the daily and weekly trials and annoyances. Now when someone cuts me off on the highway, or cuts in front of me in line at the grocery store, I am going to count it all joy! When that suprise medical bill comes in the mail, or the unexpected car repair, it is all joy! I am going to remember joy is a choice and God provides it when I focus on him.
This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!