How To Find Joy In Trials

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How To Find Joy In Trials

By Courtney Chambers
Recently, I found myself in a hospital with socks and a stylish gown on. Usually, when you have these on, you have a procedure or check-up, but not this time. This time, I put these on to match my son as he underwent a test. This was simply a moral support outfit I was sporting. As he lay down for his test, I ventured in with him and put on matching headphones as he started.
As a mom, anxious thoughts crept into my mind as I held tightly to his foot. I tried to pass the time by reciting the book of James in my mind, which I had recently memorized. The problem I ran across was that I couldn’t get past the first few verses. Instead of moving on from them, I just kept repeating them in my head. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds… (James 1:2a). These verses were stuck in my head as I watched my son stay as still as he could.
Two weeks prior, I sat in a doctor’s office with my son, and we received not one but four diagnoses. My head spun as they explained various things and what the next few months could look like. I left that office numb to what I had just heard as I smiled at my son and hugged him before putting him into the car. I don’t think it hit me until I was in my hospital gown that we are in the kind of trial that James speaks of, and my calling in it is to count it all joy.
I am sure many have experienced similar situations with their children—moments when you feel confused and ill-equipped to help your child. If I could, I would take the place every time my son has had a test or to get his blood drawn, but I can’t. Instead, I have to sit and encourage him as I watch. The Bible tells us that we are called to count it all joy in trials. How do we as parents do this when the trial we are facing is filled with our own child’s affliction and pain?

Rooted in the Word

As parents, we must dwell on God’s Word. If we are in a season of difficulty or facing a trial, the strength we need to press on will come from God alone. This means we need to dwell and read God’s Word daily. We need to read, hear, and memorize it. When challenging doctor appointments arise, we want our minds to naturally shift to God’s Word for comfort, not to self-doubt. God’s Word is where we are reminded of the hope found in Jesus. Our world is full of brokenness, and one way we see this is in the sickness of others. Finding comfort in the gospel while we face these trials is crucial for Christians.
My son might not understand everything that is going on, and he might not fully understand the trials and difficulties he is facing. The one thing he will notice amid this season is how my husband and I react. He will know the responses we produce after appointments and the attitude we perceive each time a doctor calls. When we find our strength from God and dive into God’s Word for comfort, our children will see this. We can count it all joy in the trials as we dwell on God’s goodness, peace, and hope.

Dependent upon prayer

We also should be praying parents. Some diagnoses might be for the rest of our children’s lives, while others might be temporary. No matter the timeline or what is required to help the situation, we must be dependent parents on our sovereign God. Prayer is displaying active trust and dependency on God. We can recognize that God loves and cares for our kids more than us.
We can realize that his plan for our children is greater than the plan we might have created in our minds. In response to this, we verbally display dependency on Him. We actively trust him by giving him the burdens we feel in the situation (Matthew 11:28-30). While our children see us as praying parents, we can also bring them into it. Instead of praying privately before a doctor’s appointment, we can pray with our children. No matter the results of the appointments or procedures, we can always rejoice and give God glory while praying in dependency on him.

Rejoice, always

The last thing we can do as parents is to rejoice in every situation physically. We might be exhausted from one appointment after another. We might be tired of never getting a definitive answer or receiving an answer we were not expecting. In all of these, we can still rejoice. We can still sit in our car and praise God as we head home. We can praise God for the children that he has given us and embrace the uniqueness God created them with. We can rejoice in parenthood and thank God for the ability to care for these children. Rejoicing and praising God in situations often shifts our minds from ourselves to God.
It is often hard to have a clear mind and rejoice immediately. Sometimes, we need others to come alongside us and point us to Christ and remind us what is worthy to be praised for; sometimes, we can cry in the heartache of the future while glorifying God amid sorrow. Praising God comes in many forms; we see this throughout David’s life in the Psalms. “Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever” (Psalms 145:2). We praise the Lord because he deserves it. Whatever situation we face, we can remember seasons are temporary, but Christ is eternal.
Whether you are in a season of trial with your child or face difficulty elsewhere, we can never forget these truths. Our hope and strength only come from God alone. We can lean on God for dependency because we are weak, and, no matter what we face, we can still rejoice.

Courtney Chambers is a pastor’s wife and mom of three living in northeast Missouri. Courtney has a Bachelor’s in World Missions and a Master’s in Biblical Counseling.  Courtney is passionate about biblical theology and reaching the next generation. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, and baking. You can find her @courtneyrchambers and @thereformedlife

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