Let Your Trials Lift You Higher

Let Your Trials Lift You Higher

R. T. KendallBy R. T. Kendall7 Minutes

I remember exactly where I was when the meaning of James 1:2-3 dawned on me. I wasn’t at an all-night prayer meeting. I wasn’t at the end of a 40-day fast. No, I was at a pizzeria in Florida in the summer of 1979, and I had just lost my temper.

I had been looking forward to enjoying a pizza from this particular place. But everything went wrong. First, the pizzas took 45 minutes to prepare. Then, as I carried them to my motel room through the pouring rain, they fell out of their wet paper bag into a puddle of water.

I had already told off the manager because I’d waited so long for the first set of pizzas. Now I was going to have to face him again to get new ones.

“How could all this happen?” I asked myself.

That’s when James 1:2-3 came to me: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (NIV).

This verse had been on my mind for weeks, since I was planning to preach on the book of James. As I returned to the pizzeria, I said to myself, “Either James 1:2 is true or it isn’t. And if I plan to preach on it shortly, I had better begin practicing what I preach!”

This trial of having everything go wrong with a long-awaited pizza, when people all over the world are starving, hurting, living in poverty or dying from disease, is almost too silly to mention. It’s hardly the greatest trial a person could suffer. Yet, this episode turned out to be pivotal in my life.

Minutes before I returned to the pizzeria to apologize with genuine meekness to the manager, I repented before God for my anger and behavior.

In that moment a new phrase was born to me: “dignifying the trial.” I decided then and there to dignify that situation by accepting the entire matter as something that God had sent. It was a divine setup.

I not only repented, but I also thanked the Lord for the whole incident. I apologized to the manager and cheerfully waited for another pizza.

By the time I returned to my family at the motel, I was a different person.

Adjusting Your Perspective

According to James 1:2, a trial is a God-given privilege that we are to “consider” pure joy. The Greek word is hegeomai, meaning “to value highly, to esteem.” In other words, what would naturally make us feel upset or sorry for ourselves is to be valued as a wonderful opportunity.

How do we make that adjustment in our thinking? Only by sufficient motivation. We must be inspired or stimulated to look at trials in a positive manner.

Take Moses, for example. The Bible says he “regarded” disgrace for the sake of Christ to be of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, “because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Hebrews 11:26).

Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus Himself endured the cross because of the joy that was set before Him.” Certainly he didn’t enjoy the taunts or relish the physical pain. But He considered the cross pure joy because pure joy was coming. And it came!

James doesn’t say we will enjoy trials. Instead, we must endure them. But we can regard the thought of them as pure joy because of what they can do for us.

Every trial has the potential to lead to great reward. And they are the gateway to more of God’s power and anointing in our lives.

Gaining Greater Power and Joy

If it is power and anointing you want, expect suffering. And if it is a great anointing you want, anticipate great suffering at some stage.

When I say “anointing,” I am talking about the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to do what we do with ease and without fatigue. The main reason for burnout and fatigue among Christians is almost certainly because we go beyond our anointing, venturing outside it rather than functioning within it.

Praying for a greater anointing is a legitimate desire, and God will answer this request so long as it is in His will and sought with His glory in mind (1 John 5:14).

Just don’t be surprised when you wake up one morning with an enormous trial in front of you. Instead, grasp it with both hands, and consider it pure joy. It is a fairly strong hint from the Lord that you are going to receive the anointing you desire.

James says that by dignifying your trial you will reach a place of indescribable peace and the highest level of anointing. You will have a soul uncluttered by greed and a heart filled with the very presence of God. You will experience “pure joy.”

So go ahead and rejoice—even if your trial isn’t over yet.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3, NIV)