I woke up this October morning sweating. It’s not hot in our house so some unclean thing in my biology must be getting evicted. Still, it had me wondering what was going on and doesn’t exactly “feel” great.
A couple of years ago I took the advice of a nutritionist and stopped eating sugar, gluten and dairy products. The first month of eating this way didn’t make me feel better at all as my body was being cleansed of toxins. After that first month, I started feeling a lot better. After a year of eating “right”, I slipped back into my old patterns and have relived the old “pain” that brought me to the nutritionist in the first place.
The greatest trials in my life didn’t have anything to do with physical issues. In retrospect they seemed to be more about learning how to live in a world where everything wasn’t going my way. Selfishness wasn’t working. Somehow, I had to cooperate with the character building process of trials. You know the song, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. While I don’t think this is an absolute truth, I get it.
Jesus’ brother James wrote that we should count it all joy when we enter into various trials. He talked of how they build proven character. God’s plan is to conform us to the image of Jesus, to be like Him. The trials in my life are used for that purpose. Understanding that has been the only possible way I could consider them as “pure joy”.
James 1:2-8 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.