Home christian living Why (and How) Do We Rejoice in Trials?

Why (and How) Do We Rejoice in Trials?

by Kelly Crawford

We all have trials.

Some of us even share secret trials that no one else knows.

Some of you are struggling through the deepest sorrows like death, hurting marriages or terminal illness.

And our family has trials too, beyond this one of reliving the nightmare and losing part of our house after losing it such a short time ago.

But this trial is quite visible and surreal and I’m so thankful how trials make us search intently for the truth, because if we don’t, our minds take us to a dangerous place of faulty, human logic.

Of course some trials are the results of our making wrong choices. But many others are just part of life that Scripture tells us are extremely helpful. So helpful, in fact, that we should welcome them, not be surprised by them, and even rejoice in them!

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

As humans, it’s normal to experience fear and anxiety and sorrow. In the big scheme of our present trial, losing a roof is a small thing. Insurance will pay for it, the Body of Christ has been there, just as before, to meet our every need, and we will move on.

But there are no words to describe the emotional trauma–the overwhelming terror of the whole thing as it played out–and continues to repeat in my mind in an unguarded moment, and I’m not sure yet, about all the implications of that for our family for the future. It is a nightmare I wish did not exist in my memory and for me, that’s the much bigger trial now.

But as Christians, we can move from those things into joy and peace, knowing that God is doing something bigger than our circumstances.

I love what Matthew Henry says of this verse:

“The devil endeavors by sufferings and crosses to draw men to sin and to deter them from duty, or unfit them for it; but, as our afflictions are in God’s hand, they are intended for the trial and improvement of our graces. The gold is put into the furnace, that it may be purified.”

The testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Yes! I want to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord”. And so, we say, “Thank you, Lord, for the trials, for how You change us through them.”

Praying for you to find joy in your deepest trial, to be able to look beyond the day and rejoice in what He’s doing for your tomorrow. May you know His steadfast love–that same steadfastness that He is working out in you.

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23 comments

Blair March 21, 2013 - 8:33 pm

Your faith is so inspirational to me. I appreciate your transparency about your fears. Not the specifics but just that you HAVE THEM. PERIOD. I sometimes feel like less of a Christian if I am afraid of anything. I’m taking away from this that fear in and of itself is a trial to produce steadfastness through faith.

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Word Warrior March 21, 2013 - 9:13 pm

Blair,

That’s true; fear itself is a trial. Thanks for making that point!

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Kristen March 21, 2013 - 10:41 pm

I’m doing a Bible study on James which includes a lot of memorization. The verse you quoted is one of those I’m committing to memory.

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Kari March 22, 2013 - 8:58 am

This has been a month that has brought a huge trial into our family. (http://fromtraffictotractors.blogspot.com/2013/02/very-sad-week.html) It seemed our sense of normal spun wildly out of control. I felt like I was barely hanging on. Then He came to me. His hand held me. I felt a strength that I have never experienced before. Before the day was out, I was able to honestly say, “the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord”. I didn’t understand why, I probably never will. But the trial was there, is here. It hurts.

I remember the Sunday after as I sat in church singing, tears streaming down my face as every single hymn seemed to speak to what we were going through. I couldn’t sing another word and He came again in my time of pain where I didn’t think I could carry on. Suddenly a peace washed over me. It was so sudden, so internal, and was like it was just me and my Savior in the room together even though my family and all of our church family surrounded me. I felt a sense of renewal. I felt strong. I felt encouraged. It was like I got 2′ taller, my back stood straighter, and my head began to be held up. Ever since then I have rejoiced. There are so many reasons to do so. No, I still miss her dearly. But I know where her eternity resides. I rejoice in that. I rejoice in my blessing of being in her life. I rejoice that my Savior is there during the great times and more there during the bad, hard, and dark as night times.

I hope I remember this lesson when the next trial comes. I know I am getting quicker to get to the rejoicing with each passing trial. I guess that’s a sign of maturing in my faith…or a sign of my stubbornness that I am not there as quick as I should be yet (ha ha).

Thank you for this article. It has been a blessing to me today.

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Word Warrior March 22, 2013 - 10:46 am

Kari,

Oh my, I read your story and am so heart broken for your family. Such a tragedy leaves so many emotions, questions, and fears. I can only say, as you know, that through such a trial, we must continue to praise the One who gives and takes away. It is not an easy road to walk…as you are well experiencing. I will pray for your heart to heal.

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Summer March 22, 2013 - 11:24 am

Kari, I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your tragic loss. I, too, lost a dear friend to suicide years ago when we were both 19. It was very, very hard to handle and so many emotions went through me. I praise the Lord for giving you strength and peace and I pray He will continue to do so. You’ll be in my prayers.

BTW, thank you for what you wrote about organ donations. I think that that is such an amazing way to serve even after you’re gone. After all, I won’t need it anymore. I’ve made that very clear to my family. So, thanks for the extra info I didn’t know about.

God’s blessings on you and your family.

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Erica March 27, 2013 - 1:05 pm

Kari-

My heart goes out to you during this time (and for years to come)…I lost one of my nephews this way just 3 years ago. The pain lessens, but never truly leaves. The only joy can be found in knowing that they rest with Jesus and that one day you will see them again. I pray that your entire family can find peace during this time. I know it’s not easy, especially when it is someone who is young – and in your eyes had so much going for them.

I also want to thank you for using something so horrific to touch other’s lives and help people that need it. Organ donation is so often overlooked, especially when dealing with a younger person’s death. I have known all my life that I wanted to be an organ donor when I died and have made it known to everyone in my family. Since I will have no use for the vessel (and it’s various organs/parts) when my spirit no longer in on the Earth I can think of no better use for it. Although I must admit that I had NO idea that you could help so many people through such a ‘gift’! Reading your post has actually led me to talk to more friends & family members about my decision to be an organ donor and to encourage them to do the same. I’m only sorry that it took such a tragedy for you to be able to post about the donations and how they can help others. Your niece’s passing, while tragic and truly unfair to your family, has quite possibly led to even more lives saved/helped than just those she physically helped. By speaking out about donations and ways they are used you very likely have helped & saved a lot more people.

My family will keep your in our prayers…while it will never truly go away…one day you will find the peace that will help you deal with it and be able to look back at her life and how she touched yours (and your children’s) without sadness.

Blessings & peace in Christ,
Erica

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Deborah March 22, 2013 - 9:06 am

I am so sorry about your house. Yes, grateful you weren’t wiped off the map again, and of course you are all safe – but still two storms in a row. I just can’t imagine it.

Hope this song can offer some encouragement.

If I stand let me stand on the promise that you will see me through
and if I can’t let me fall on the grace that first brought me to You
and if I sing let me sing for the joy that is more than any song
and if I weep let it be as a man who is longing for his home.
– Rich Mullins

Jesus said I go to prepare a place for you. If it were not true I would have told you so plainly.
Your treasure is in heaven where thieves and rust [and storms] cannot destroy.

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Word Warrior March 22, 2013 - 10:36 am

Deborah–what a comforting word…thank you so much for taking the time to share it!

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Annie D March 22, 2013 - 1:06 pm

Maybe helpful, maybe not…

I discovered a blogger named Alison Hodgson on Houzz.com…

http://www.houzz.com/pro/alisonhodgson/alison-hodgson

…and read about how she went through great effort to declutter her house only to have it burn down (arson!) a few weeks later.

Her Houzz articles vary in subject, but you’ll find more details about her house fire and the emotional after-effects on her blog:

http://olderthanjesus.blogspot.com/

She’s a believer and you may glean something useful from what she’s been through.

Thinking of you daily,

Anne

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Word Warrior March 22, 2013 - 1:09 pm

Oh wow, I can’t wait to read this..thank you, Annie!

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Cindy March 23, 2013 - 9:56 pm

Yikes! I leave the Internet for one week and come back to find out you can’t even keep a roof on without me? I’m very sorry, and praying.

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Kelly L March 24, 2013 - 7:29 pm

You know, God has really been showing me how to find him in the hardships that occur in life. My daughter is 1 week away from becoming 13 and has had such bad growing pains since she was 5 that she is on naproxen 2 times a day (I am a homeopath 1st, so this, in itself, is hard, but walking without help seems to be pretty important.) 😉 In addition, she got injured in June and has not had stellar doctors until 1 1/2 weeks ago. I really could not understand why God did not just heal her. I had faith for it, almost expected it (because of His promises). But through this, my daughter has revealed that she had not surrendered fully to His will for her future. Through this time, God has been imploring her to give into His will and showing she has surrendered to her will alone despite all other fruits.

But this is not just about her being corrected. I had visions of her future because of the immense giftings He has given her. But I saw things through my eyes, not His. Through these really crappy 9 months of watching my child suffer even more than normal, I have come to see His beautiful plan, well, probably just a glimpse of it. I am so thankful that He loves us so much that He did not give into our immediate pleas, but to allow us to come to a place of surrender and growth. It really sucks as she is just starting to get better (sorry if the reader does not like that word). But what He has promised through this has become the more sweeter because of the journey that brought us here.

I would have really liked to get to here with out the extended stay in the desert. 😉 I do not FULLY know why we were here so long. I do know I am grateful He is the only one who can bring us out of it. He is perfect and so is His will. And, as long as I keep trying to surrender as much as I can, I am glad to know I am closer to His will than to mine. And that is not a bad place to be.

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Kelly L March 24, 2013 - 7:30 pm

Yikes, a book! Sorry. It really is your fault, Kelly, to speak such pertinant and timely lessons ALL THE TIME!~ 😉

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Word Warrior March 24, 2013 - 9:33 pm

Kelly–I understand exactly what you are saying and I’m glad you took the time to say it.

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Keri March 27, 2013 - 9:16 am

Kelly-I haven’t been able to be on here for several days because of something our family has been going through. Emotional trauma for me. One of the things that has really helped me lately is to write some Bible Verses on index cards and when I start to feel completely overwhelmed I look at them and read them.I literally carry them into each room I am in. I’m sure you probably have done this before or fall back on ones you have memorized and I have done the same thing with the ones I have memorized but for some reason…reading them over and over seems to calm my anxious heart and I really think has stopped me from having a panic attack. I knew the emotional trauma would be the hardest part for you and I have been praying for you and will continue to pray for you. Thanks for keeping us posted!

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Word Warrior March 27, 2013 - 9:48 am

Keri–thank you so much. I think you are absolutely right, and we truly underestimate the power of God’s Word, and speaking truth to ourselves in the midst of a “moment”. That’s what I finally had to do that night to get my blood pressure to drop. Almost in a meditative/repetitive fashion, repeating truth over and over. Good stuff, and I hope you find that calm too in your trial.

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Keri March 27, 2013 - 11:55 am

Kelly..one more thing I forgot to mention. One of the things that was so humbling for me..and such an eye opener was when I would lay down to go to sleep at night and the emotional trauma things were keeping me awake at night. Sleeping is never really a problem for me unless there is something major going on. I really tend to think that I am not a worrier..lol. and it’s not so much the worrying that I thought was keeping me awake..just the trauma playing over in my head.So..I was laying in bed and I was meditating on scripture trying to go to sleep and I realized that I could remember larger portions of scripture(not that many..maybe 3 chapters..being honest here..and I realized that I couldn’t recall smaller chunks of scripture to meditate on so I kept going back to the SAME scriptures. It made me realize that I didn’t have enough memorized so I am working on that now.That is also helping me tremendously!! Just wanted to share that!

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Word Warrior March 27, 2013 - 12:02 pm

Great point! I know about a CD that is very helpful for memorizing long passages of Scripture 😉

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Keri March 27, 2013 - 1:29 pm

What is it and how do I get it? What version of the Bible? Thanks!! and on a side note..We are freezing here in Florida today!!..lol.

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Word Warrior March 27, 2013 - 1:33 pm

Keri–I linked “CD” to it in my last comment–just click on that. It is the one I recorded several years ago to help our family memorize more Scripture. It is as close to KJV as I could keep it, with occasional paraphrase to facilitate the melody. You can hear clips of it on the link page.

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Erica March 27, 2013 - 1:52 pm

I could quite possibly write a book about trials leading to a special blessing that we could have never imagined in a million years…but I’m sure we all could if given the time! LOL One thing I have found is that I can (& mostly do) praise God during the storms in my life. Partly because I was told to…but mainly because I have learned that those times in the desert really do open your lives up to great possibilities!

Lately the one thing I have really REALLY been struggling with is being a part of a family unit and dealing with trials. So often I feel like I am being punished for something someone else did. I know that probably sounds childish. I find myself getting irritated that I am suffering when my husband is the one learning from something during the trial. And then I read this blog posting and it was like a shock moment…maybe I DO have something to learn?!?!

It is possible that I need to learn how to be more patient, supportive, understanding, etc… Maybe there is a reason I am here to go through these times with my husband & kids. I know I’m not immune to trials. I know that I will face them. It just seems of late, that we are facing the same thing over and over again. I can’t figure it out. I think I have it tied into a little knot that won’t come undone because you know – I’ve already learned that so why would I need to learn it again? Only to wake up another day to face the same trial or just a part of it that is still ongoing.

It is easier for me to deal with things that are driven by nature to cause trials to happen in my life. It is harder for me to deal with the trials that start from a decision someone has made that impacts my life. Especially if it is something like finances when you know better but do it anyways for that immediate gratification, and not looking at the big picture & how it will affect the rest of the family.

Maybe these types of trials are actually helping me create stronger relationships with my family? My husband & I have had our share of problems..some that I am still trying to get a handle on (and they happened 10-15 years ago!)…and it does affect our relationship. But NOW I am realizing that through these trials that it is also giving me a window to look through – where I am beginning to see my husband & children in a new light. I haven’t been able to truly appreciate my husband & our children (mainly the teens) completely – for who they are entirely. Yet, here right now after reading this posting I realize that yes, there is something that I am learning during these trials. And while I’m not going to get some award for suffering them…I am getting a life lesson that God is using to bless me with something greater, something more than it was before. I know I’m not perfect and yet my husband & children still love me and lean on me to help them get through each day. They still take the time to appreciate me…those little hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s” are their ways of showing it and maybe I just need the blessing that comes with appreciating each person in my family more than I have in the past.

Maybe God is using trials to teach me more than I thought. Yes, I need to continue leaning on Him daily. Yes, I need to keep praising Him during the storms. But I also need to remember that being a part of a family means more than just living in one house together?!?!

Thank you Kelly! God has used you once again to show me something that I hadn’t realized I needed to ‘hear’…I am so thankful that I stumbled upon your blog. I am thankful that God has used you (and that you are willing to be used by God) to help all of us to get through each and every day. I honestly can’t thank you enough for all the help you have given me the past year that I have been reading your blog. I doubt you realize how much you inspire others…and how important what you have to say is to so many of us. I thank God for you and your family. You are truly storing up blessings in Heaven!

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6 arrows April 1, 2013 - 10:21 pm

Some very difficult trials mentioned on this thread. Praying for you, Kari, Kelly L. and Keri (Kelly/WW, too).

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