"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds." James 1:2
Is it really possible to count it joy when trials come? Can we be happy about something that makes us unhappy? Usually we cry, "What did I do to deserve this? How long will this trial last?"
To make tribulation "work for us" as Paul said, we'll have to look at it this way: If we lose a dollar and in our search for it find $100, our unhappiness in losing the lesser would be offset by our joy in finding the greater.
The burdens God sends are intended not to get us down but to lift us up, not to make us stumble but to make us soar. Whatever draws us closer to God, however painful or hard to bear at the moment, is a hidden blessing. Trials sweep away the debris that has cluttered life with things that hide God from our eyes. The shore is swept clean by the storm, and we get a new experience of the ocean of God's grace.
The One who led us into the dark valley is our friend. He has gone all the way to the cross to have us as His own. He leads us into the dark valley, not to leave us there but to train us there. When we come out, we will be better for it: closer to God and nearer to heaven.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, when the path gets dark, help us to tighten our grip on Your hand and to hold on until we come back into the light. Amen.
(Taken from "Words of Promise," copyright 1996 (out of print), Concordia Publishing House. For information on other devotional materials, call 1-800-325-3040.)
Today's Bible Readings: Isaiah 9-10 Ephesians 1
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