Janice Boekhoff

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything.

James 1:2-4

Have you ever wanted something so badly and then had it ripped away? Two years ago, I sat in a chair at a writer’s conference across from an agent, wondering if my dream of being a published writer would ever come true. The agent, who I waited two years to talk to, told me I could submit a proposal to him but he would probably reject me for reasons x, y, and z. I felt like my heart had been shredded.

Would God have given me this dream without a way to fulfill it? I had to believe the answer was no, even in the face of rejection. Later that day, a few people asked how the conference was going. I didn’t lie. I told them how hard it was, but I also told them I trusted in God’s timing. In sharing my faith and my struggles, I made close friends that I wouldn’t have made any other way.

I don’t think the above Bible verses mean we have to enjoy our trials, but we can have joy knowing what our trials will produce—patience, endurance, perseverance. And we can also take comfort in knowing our trials are not just for us. When we go through hard times, we are squeezed. What comes out of us under pressure will be what we already have inside. And if trust in God comes out, it will impact people for God’s kingdom.

A year later, I went to another conference where I met the agent who accepted me. She believes in my work and I’m grateful to have her, but without the difficulties of the previous year, I might not have progressed in my writing enough to attract her interest. While I’m not a published author yet, every trial helps me grow, so that if I ever become one, God’s grace will be squeezed out of me under the pressure.

Don’t waste your trials, wishing they would go away. Use them for His purposes.

Dear Father, thank you for your love and care. You hold our hand through our difficulties and with each one You bring joy out of the pain. Help us to submit to the transforming power of our trials. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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