“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Lately, I’ve had to do a lot of physical therapy for my knees. One of my biggest problems now is my IT Band - which runs down the outside of your leg between your hips and your knees. Mine are really tight. My physical therapist told me I needed to start using a foam roller to help loosen the muscle, but that didn’t help as quickly as we wanted.
Because of that, I have recently discovered the unfortunate art of dry needling. Dry needling is something my physical therapist can do to help my IT bands relax. It sounds about as miserable as it is: I lay down on a table and they find the spots where the muscle has knotted. Then, they literally take a small needle, like an acupuncture needle, and they poke at the spot with the needle for around 30 seconds until it relaxes some. That usually leads them to find another trigger point, and they poke at that for a little while, etc.
The whole process only takes about 2 minutes, but man does it hurt. Like really really hurt. But, after a day or so, once the soreness goes away, I have better mobility and flexibility in my legs. My knees work better. A really miserable two minutes leads to pretty awesome improvement.
God does the same thing in our lives sometimes. There are times that life hurts. Things don’t go our way, we struggle with something, or we experience great loss. There are times in my life when I wonder, “God- what is good in this for me?” But God brings every trial into our life for a reason. We are meant to grow through trials, to strengthen our faith in Him, so that we may eventually be perfect and complete.
Now we aren’t going to just stay that way. Just because I got dry needled once doesn’t mean my leg is healed forever. I have to keep working to continue improving my body - but those few minutes of pain sure do help!
God will continue to work in your life, which means other trials might come your way. But it is all God’s work to help improve you to the best you can be.
So when you are having a hard time - be encouraged that God is working in that trial for your good. To make you better! So that you can better know and love Him and better share His love with others. For that reason even the bad stuff can be counted as joy!