Summary: God does not want you to downplay your trials by comparing them to the trials of others. He wants you to learn and grow through what He is allowing you to endure.
How To Experience Joy During Trials (Part One)
Preached by Pastor Tony Miano
Pico Canyon Community Church
November 5, 2000
Introduction: This morning we’re going to begin a study of James 1:2-4. Over the next two weeks, we’re going to look at three keys to experiencing joy in the midst of trials. We’re going to look at how the attitude of our heart, our knowledge of the Truth, and the maturity of our faith determines the level of joy we can experience even when we face some of the most difficult times of our lives. We’re also going to take a little time this morning and look at the difference between a believer’s suffering as a result of their faith in Christ, and experiencing the day-to-day trials of life.
But let’s begin with a word of prayer.
Go ahead and turn with me to James, Chapter 1. In verses 2-4 we read, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
As a pastor who is committed to the clear, verse-by-verse teaching of God’s Word, one of the challenges I face is making sure that the messages I bring to you are never about me. I want you to be encouraged and challenged by what you learn from God’s Word—not what you learn about me. With that said, I also think God uses the testimonies of His people to illustrate His marvelous grace, His incredible mercy, and His unending love. I ask that you indulge me for just a bit as I share a day in the life of my family in which these three verses in James were used by God to lead us through on of life’s trials.
When Michelle was five, her doctors decided it was time for her to undergo some serious and extensive surgery to correct the curvature of her spine. We were told that she would eventually be crippled by the condition if it were not corrected. The initial surgery, which took about eight hours, went very well. So well that the surgeon, one of the best in the country in the field of pediatric orthopedics, decided to place a metal rod along her spine to support the vertebrae that had been fused together.
We eventually took Michelle home sporting a full upper body cast. Her recovery went fairly well until one day when we noticed what looked like a small bloodstain on the backside of her cast. She soon started running a high fever. We called Children’s Hospital and they told us to bring her in right away.
The doctors in the emergency room cracked open Michelle’s cast and were horrified at what they saw. The metal rod that had been placed along Michelle’s spine had broken away from one of the vertebrae and pierced through her skin. Her back was swollen and very infected. Michelle would have to undergo yet another surgery to removed the rod from her back.
Because of the infection, they could not close the wound from the surgery. For several agonizing days, Michelle had to endure incredible pain and discomfort as the infection was purged from her body in ways I will not describe this morning.
Michelle was on very heavy antibiotics for some time. Because she was a frail little girl to begin with, it was difficult to maintain an I.V. in any of her little veins. The doctors decided to place a shunt under her skin, along the collar bone, known as a central line, so they could maintain the heavy dose of antibiotics required to deal with the infection in her body.
This required yet another surgical procedure for my baby. It was a time when I thought back to those first few days after Michelle’s birth. I would sit in the rocking chair in the ICU for hours telling Michelle that I would always be there for her and that I would never let anything bad happen to her. I told her that I would protect her from everything and everyone. Now, five years later, I was helpless to do anything for her. Satan had me convinced that I was letting my little girl down.
Michelle was scheduled for the procedure on February 6th, 1993. It was a Saturday. I had made arrangements to work the day shift so that I could get to Children’s Hospital in time for Michelle’s surgery, scheduled for late in the afternoon. This was also the day I would meet a man named Jeff Sauer.
Jeff Sauer had been arrested 17 times before I met him for everything from petty theft to robbery. His pastime was stealing cars. He had been in and out of county jail and state prison several times. In fact he had been released from his latest stint in prison not long before I met him.