When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy…When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow…for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete. James 1:2-4

She was on a mission of mercy, but her journey didn’t end the way she anticipated.

A church I attended once began a Sunday evening feeding program which was supported completely by member donations. One elderly lady, bringing supplies for the upcoming feeding, missed a step, fell, and incurred a serious break to one of her femurs. For eight weeks, she could not put any pressure on the injured leg. For an active senior like herself, this was a major trial—yet one with purpose. Shortly after arriving at the rehabilitation center, she led one of her nurses to a relationship with the Lord.

God sends or allows trials, but either way, he has a purpose. One purpose for trials is to teach us joy’s real meaning. I’m often happiest when everything goes my way and when I’m able to purchase what I want and go where I desire. I’m smart enough to realize, however, that this type of joy is circumstance related. My joy should be found in my relationship with Christ—regardless of my circumstances. Trials help this realization surface.

Trials increase my endurance. Life is difficult, and an easy road doesn’t prepare me to challenge it. Muscles are forged by resistance, and my ability to endure what life hurls my way is developed through difficult, not trouble-free, episodes.

Trials also form my character. If I sincerely want to know who I am and how I’ll respond to any given situation, trials reveal this information rapidly. My character is who I am when everyone is looking or when no one is staring. Trials allow my faults to rise to the top so I can allow God to sand off the rough edges and forge them into strengths.

God doesn’t allow or send trials without purpose. Respond correctly when they come, and let God help you experience the purpose for which he sent them.