Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. —2 Corinthians 8:2
So how do you dignify a trial? Below are eight steps to getting the most out of your trials.
1. Welcome it. Welcome the trial as you would welcome the Holy Spirit, for it is the Holy Spirit who, with the Father and the Son, is behind the whole ordeal. And in this case, He comes with one purpose: for your own good.
2. Don't panic. Satan's immediate goal when he is given permission to attack is to get you to panic. This is why he is compared to a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8). The reason for the roar is to intimidate and cause fear and panic—to make you think you are defeated even before anything has had a chance to happen.
3. See the trial as a compliment to you from God Himself. This is important. The kind of trial He has allowed you to have is very possibly one that could not be granted to others around you. God gave this trial to you for one reason: you are up to it.
4. Never forget that God allowed it. Satan will want you to focus on yourself, feel self-pity, and blame someone else for it. But realize that this trial has passed through God's filtering process.
5. Know that there is a purpose in it. There is an intelligent, meaningful reason God allowed it. It is to refine you, teach you a lesson, equip you better, make you more sensitive, teach you self-control, and help you guard your tongue. In other words, to make you more like Jesus.
6. Don't try to end it. Don't try to get out of anything prematurely. God will allow it to last as long as it is supposed to last.
7. Don't grumble. It is a sobering thought that God puts grumbling alongside idolatry and sexual sin in the list of evil deeds that brought His wrath down on ancient Israel (1 Cor. 10:1-12).
8. Know that God wants you to pass the test far more than you do. There are two reasons for this. First, He loves us so much and rejoices to see us experience pure joy. Second, it brings glory to Him when we dignify the trial by cheerfully enduring it.
Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).