No one enjoys hardships, but as much as we want to avoid struggles, they are a reality of life and believers are not exempt. In fact, scripture says we will experience all sorts of trials.
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. – James 1:2-4 (NET Bible)
For the past couple months I have been laid up with an injury to my knee. The rehab has been a challenging process. I can’t say that my reaction to the injury was one of joy as scripture suggests. Who welcomes struggles in their life?
What I’ve come to realize is that accepting the trial doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the challenge or the pain it brings, but trusting that there is a purpose for it. I have found that I can better experience joy in difficult circumstances when I know it has been established by God and that He is working for me, not against me.
And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. – Romans 8:28 Amplified Bible (AMP)
My relationship with Jesus is dependent on faith. Faith in Christ allows Him opportunity to work in my life. Christ uses trials like this to help strengthen my faith and spiritual maturity. Because of my relationship with Jesus I can trust He is doing something greater even if I can’t recognize or understand it.
Dr. Paul David Tripp once said, “God will take you where you haven’t intended to go in order to produce in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own.”
I didn’t choose to have this injury, but throughout the process I have spent more time with God in His word and in prayer. I noticed my focus shifting off my immediate circumstances to how Christ is working on me, allowing me to see the joy in my situation.
My faith has increased as I’ve watched God orchestrate record times for appointments and surgery. I’ve been more content to let things go that I can’t control and have found rest through the promises in His word that He loves me and wants the best for me.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)
There are days I get discouraged with my knee and the physiotherapist will say, “Keep going, don’t give up, you’re improving, but there is still work to do.”
I hear Christ saying the same thing about my spiritual life, “My child don’t give up, I’m not finished, trust me, keep your eye on the prize, an eternity with me.”
For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us! – Romans 8:18 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Whatever challenge you are facing today, hang in there. God not only promises to give you strength to endure the obstacle but will continue to work out His good in you until His Son’s return.
I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]. – Phillipians 1:6 (AMP)
This is the hope I rest in and I will count it all joy because I trust He knows best.