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.” (James 1:2-3)

Finding joy in the trials of life is like finding a precious stone embedded along a river’s edge. As the water rages on, it is almost impossible to spot the stone’s vibrant colors, but when the water is still, it is easy to see how it has been there all along. These are deep lessons that, when gathered together, strengthen our faith.

Turning away from trials is our natural response to life, but if we remember the river and the treasures that await us, they become easier to bear. Jesus tells us that throughout life we will have many troubles. At the same time, He offers us strength by reminding us that He has overcome them all.  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) This is of great comfort to us when life becomes the raging river and we are struggling just to keep our heads above water.

In time, as the water of our days ebbs and flows, eventually the turbulence passes. We gasp and cough and cling to the shore to find that we survived not only the current that threatened to pull us under but our own doubt, as well. And blinking to us in the sunlight, caught along the riverbank, are pearls of wisdom and a jewel called hope.

Father, I fear the trials when they come, but I know that You are always with me. Help me cling to You when troubles come, believing that through faith there is a lesson waiting for me in the end. Amen.