Isaiah 41:10 “So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you.”
When prospecting for gold began it was a long process and took quite an amount of patience and time. It wasn’t as simple as going to the river, putting your pan in and pulling out gold. Prospectors worked all day up and down rivers, sometimes only coming up with a couple of small nuggets or even none at all. To begin looking they had to put their pan in the water and sift through mud, rocks, and a lot of muck. The days they struck out probably felt miserable because of the work they had put in. It was a trial learning each day to see what worked best, what to avoid, and how to use their skills to the best capacity for the desired results. Then, on the day or days they found those few nuggets they probably rejoiced and felt accomplishment with their time and effort. Since gold was new and important back when the gold rush began, it was not easy to be a prospector. Living on the open land, sleeping under the stars, fighting off other gold prospectors and wild animals. It had to be a trial some for most all of them. Their journey must have taught them many lessons but if successful it was worth it.
I have learned that it is not a matter of “if” I will have trials, it’s “when” they will come. James 1:2-4 has helped shine some truths on how we deal with the trials. “My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, 3 because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience. 4 Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete and will have everything you need.”
Consider it joy? That is difficult to do when things around you are falling apart or you feel stressed, worried, or frustrated. We are told that our trials come to test our faith. Letting go of control and letting God lead is one of the hardest things to do. What if He leads us into a financial crisis, what if I lose my job or all I’ve worked for? What if HE really doesn’t know what makes me happy? This is when we have to hold onto faith that yes, God will take care of us and what we need. Sometimes, even a little readjustment will help us grow into a better person.
James adds that when we have faith it helps our perseverance grow. Think about the perseverance those prospectors had to have to deal with the daily struggles to find even one gold nugget. It was that perseverance that kept them going. And it was their patience that kept them looking because they believed. We know trials will come as Christians but knowing and believing in God and His promises and hoping in salvation will keep us moving through the trials with joy. Joy that God is helping us through them, we are not alone.
When we persevere or have patience James continues by telling us we will be perfect and complete and have what we need. Everything we go through helps us grow when we choose to find “joy” in the trials. Like the prospectors had to learn where and how to find gold through experience which in turn helped them, we will continue to grow through our experiences.
It always feels, when in the middle of a trial, you are the only one who has experienced anything this hard, this hurtful, this intense. But we all can be assured we’re in good company. Just look through scripture, Ruth struggled financially, Abraham had to wait on God’s promises, Moses had to lead reluctant followers through the desert. Yet all were overcomers through each trial because they persevered with God’s help and turned their trials into triumphs.
Your trials don’t mean you put on a fake smile and pretend to be happy. The reality is you are hurting, you suffer, you doubt, you may fail to see how God can bring good from it. James simply is telling us to choose to find joy in the midst, submit to God’s plan because His ways are always good, because He is good.
Through the muck, the storms, the adversity seek the “gold nuggets” of the lessons hidden in the trial and rejoice in the growth that came from it. Always remember, through each trial God promises never to leave us. Happy prospecting!
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