“Have Joy In The Midst of Trials”

Whenever I’m in the middle of a big project, I tend to look to the time when it will be completed… then I can relax … I won’t have the pressure and anxiety  that can come with making something happen. 

I still remember being in the middle of final exams in college…. usually it was a host of chemistry or biology exams… topics where I wasn’t well prepared and yet a lot rode on them. I would look forward to them being over and enjoying a cold beer with my friends, happy that they were over. (and I hopefully did well)

Looking forward to the trial or project or test “being over” has always been a key goal….. then I could savor the victory and relax……auuuuuu….re-laxxxxxxxx.

People talk about “enjoying the journey…enjoying the moment. It’s said if you’re not happy now, you probably won’t be happy when you complete the task…if I’m not peaceful now, finishing the task or assignment won’t make me peaceful…at least not for very long. While I believe that’s true, I don’t always act that way. 

Sometimes I wonder what Jesus was thinking during the Last Supper and then the agony in the garden and then suffering and dying on the cross. If it was me, I would be thinking….” just hang on Dave, keep going, it will be over soon…don’t give up now…this time tomorrow it will be over and then you can celebrate…. I can’t wait for this to be over… Lord help me to persevere.” It sure seems human to want the suffering to end, but is that how Jesus thought? 

Recently I was working on a presentation that took a lot of time to put together and a fair amount of emotion… it was a difficult subject to get my arms around. I finally finished and it seemed to go pretty well. It was a relief to have finished it. Yet, shortly after it was over, my life was on to other issues… the relief I felt at having completed the task was pretty short lived…. “I hadn’t died and gone to heaven”.

So, is there a point here? What is the message? Well, like so many things, it seems to be a bit complex. I believe that the Lord wants us to be peaceful always, not just when the trial or challenge is over. We need to have joy and be peaceful even in the midst of the trial, when things are a bit crazy and challenging…even when we’re carrying a cross. Despite the pain and sorrow, the Lord was peaceful and joyful on the road to Calvary…he wasn’t cracking jokes, but he was fundamentally happy because he was doing his father’s will. He didn’t enjoy the pain and suffering, but something bigger and more important was happening… he was saving mankind from sin and death and the devil. All of that ‘trumped” the pain and sorrow. Doing God’s will should always “trump” the pain and sorrow and challenges of our life. 

So, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to give us peace and joy always…even in the midst of our difficult trials… we don’t need for the trial to end before we can stop and celebrate. We can celebrate God’s goodness and love for us “before, during, and after” every challenge in our life, as we go about doing his will, ….  and that is very good news.

 “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, 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)

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