Cleveland Bailey was a good candidate for a bad mood. The resident of North Little Rock Arkansas, went out of town for two weeks; when he returned his home was gone.
Bailey pulled up in his driveway just moments after a city contractor’s bulldozer had leveled his house. If only Bailey were looking to remodel . . . . He wasn't. The city made a mistake.
I feel bad for Cleveland Bailey, but I love his story. It illustrates a very important principle: Trials are a part of life. Take a look at some of the great people of faith. They all faced trials:
- Peter was tossed in prison (Acts 21:19).
- Paul had a nagging ailment (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
- Daniel was thrown to the lions (Daniel 6).
- Jeremiah’s work was excruciatingly hard (Jeremiah 20).
- David faced a rebellion (1 Samuel 30:1-6).
- Joseph was rejected by his family (Genesis 37).
- Moses dealt with lots of complainers (Numbers 14:1-12).
Trials are not an elective in the university of life. They are a required course! This is a lesson God teaches us through James:
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 anything. James 1:2-4 NIV
James said, "whenever you face trials," not "If you face trials"? Tough times happen: sicknesses, accidents, leaky roofs, problem people, divorces, delays, and disappointments.
In each of these situations James tells us, “Consider it pure joy.”
That may seem outrageous, but the joy to which James refers is not a belly laugh. It is a good mood of the soul. It is the good mood I adopt -- not because of what is happening to me -- but because of what God is doing in me.
When trials come I know God is using them to develop perseverance. He is building "spiritual staying power" in my life. This is a part of his loving plan.
God loves me so much he was willing to send Jesus to endure His wrath on the cross in order to forgive my sins and give me life -- to save me. And he loves me so much that he is going to work out every event in my life -- good and bad -- to mature me.
I can trust him on this. You can too.