Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

JB Phillips' translation is: "When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends!"

A couple of weeks ago our church began a study of the book of James. Because James happens to be one of my favorite books in the Bible, it's probably one of the books I have spent the most time in. Yet upon each reading, I am newly challenged.

What struck me this time was this: for those of us in Christ, the trials we face are *redemptive*. God desires us to be mature and complete. And He uses trials to refine us and build character in us.

This made me ponder some of the trials I am currently facing. (I am a bit hesitant here, to be talking about trials in my life, because with the knowledge of the trials that some of you are currently facing or have faced, my own truly pale in comparison. I have not known the heart-wrenching pain that some of you have carried.)

One of the things our pastor challenged us to ask when faced with a trial, is this: "What are You trying to teach me, here, God?"

The following day I sat down, pen in hand, and listed the trials I am facing. And then I asked God, "What *are* you trying to teach me through these? What are You building in me through these trials? How are you growing me toward maturity through these things?"

I began to jot down some possibilites of what God might be teaching me, next to each trial I'd listed. My list grew to include the following: perseverance, persistant prayer, patience, love, unity in spite of differences, submission, humility, holding my tongue, love, patience, trust, humility, submission, waiting on the Lord, self control, kindness, a soft heart.

I noticed right away that there were some repeats. And what was sort of an epiphany to me was this: those repeats? Patience, love, and humility are things I pray for in my life nearly EVERY day. Practically every page of my journal reveals a prayer for more patience, more love, and more humility. Those are the big ones. In essence, these trials are the means to which God is answering my own prayers. That gave a whole new meaning to the idea of welcoming these trials as friends. I was able, that day, to genuinely thank God for the trials I'm facing, knowing that He is maturing me. Not to mention answering my prayers. :)

I encourage you to make your own list. Jot down your trials sometime and list what you think God may be trying to teach you. See what you come up with. And then welcome the lessons God is weaving into your life through trials.

Blessings to you today!


  1. Beautiful Stacy. One of my favorite verses of all time is Romans 5. It talks of rejoicing in sufferings. Suffering produces perseverence, perseverence produces character, and character produces hope. And hope doesn't disappoint. LOVE it!
    Have a wonderful day. In God's Love, Tami

  2. Stacy,
    Thanks for this! I'll be doing this (Lord willing) in my journal tomorrow morning.
    It reminds me of that old adage: be careful what you wish for... =)

  3. Hi Stacy :) Thank you for this encouragement today! Love, Q

  4. Stacy,
    Thanks for your words! It was just what I needed to hear right now as I just started to pack my bags and travel down that very familiar road of self-pity. It's just such an easy road to get on :)

    Carrie (I'm not sure how I should identify myself now, I'll have to think about that...for now, Carrie from Indiana?)

  5. You explained this well. Thank you.
    I love it too how God's word can always penetrate our hearts and is the power to change us!
    I enjoy being on this "pilgrims progress" with you!

  6. Well, I know what God is teaching me:

    1. That being pregnant with twins hurts. But still, I don't need to complain.

    Simple. But OH SO HARD!!!

  7. ((Stacy))
    Thank you for these thoughts. I really needed to read this today.
    God is so amazing and wise, isn't He? I am so struck by His wisdom when I ponder things like this. We pray for selflessness, more love for Him, a will resigned to His-- and then we wonder at the trials He sends us. But those trials are His answer to our prayers! Truly, we learn more from a short time in His School of Suffering than we could in a thousand bright and carefree days.

    Psalm 119:71
    It is good for me that I was afflicted,
    That I may learn Thy statutes.

  8. Good words, Stacy. I was just talking the other day about this...about how our adoption trials were some of the hardest I had ever been through, but how there is a certain part of me that misses those trials now because they seemed to drive me deeper on my knees and more desperate for God than I had ever known.

    You are wise and inspiring.

  9. Great truth! I so appreciate your honesty and transparency. He allows whatever we each face in our life because He loves us...thanks for that reminder :o)

    Thank you for your comment on my blog. I definitely felt overwhelmed today with our loss plus a few others things going on.
    It was a blessing!

  10. Thank you so much Stacey for those words of encouragement...I love your testimony.

  11. Stacy, this was a great post. I can identify with Michelle's comment above, about almost missing trials of the past. I went through a trial of significance a few years ago, and even thought the circumstances were difficult, it was such a sweet time in my relationship with the Lord because I had no other choice than to *cling* to Him every single day. I learned so much during that time, and even though I would never wish the circumstances on anyone, I would never never never change what I went through.

    And how encouraging is it to march through the rest of life with that perspective? As we go through future trials, to remember our trials of the past and the confidence we have that they were so rich in purpose?

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Stacy!


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