By Dr. Mary Logan
Life’s journey is not always an easy one. There is disease, illness, disappointment, sorrow, suffering . . . and the list goes on. Did you know, though, that trials are allowed for a purpose? Yes! They are allowed to prove you and to make you stronger—to make you more like Christ.
James (1:2) says to “consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds . . .” What? My attitude toward trials should be a spirit of joy? But how is it possible to have a spirit of joy when, in the natural, you feel discouraged and defeated? Well, the answer is to change your attitude! Think positively instead of negatively. Simply obey the biblical command to consider it pure joy. Ask God to help you!
In the book, Captive in Iran, John Perry assisted Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh in giving a detailed account of their 259 days in the Evin Prison, the notorious Tehran prison, where inmates are routinely tortured. Maryam and Marziyeh were arrested in 2009 and imprisoned for their Christian faith and for sharing it with others. Not only was their house ransacked and possessions confiscated, they were held illegally in a detention center and then sent to prison, without ever being formally charged.
Instead of succumbing to fear, Maryam and Marziyeh chose to take a step of faith and to share their Christian testimony with the inmates. They soon discovered that in this prison, under some of the worst conditions, the Lord had anointed them to “bring good news to the poor . . .comfort the brokenhearted . . . proclaim that captives . . . be released and prisoners . . . freed” (Isa. 61:1 NLT). Both of them stood strong and were bold in their Christian witness. They truly considered it pure joy to suffer for the sake of Christ. Not only was this story about God sustaining them, but it was also about the many women they met along the way who were able to hear how much God loved each one of them.
What are the reasons for trials? James 1:3 answers the question: “. . . the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” View trials as opportunities for Christian growth. When you persevere and conquer the trials, God perfects His purpose in you. You become more holy and more pure—more like Christ. You become more mature to accomplish the tasks to which He has called you.
Regardless of the stressful circumstances in which you find yourself, always remember that God is with you. As James (1:4) says, “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
In the future, think of how God can bring good into your life through the trials. Face them with JOY!
Mary Logan, Ed.D., is an editor, mentor, and Professor of Education and Business in the Graduate School of Theology at Global University. For more information about Global University, visit http://think.globaluniversity.edu