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Walking Through Trials: Acceptance & Joy

If you enjoy a good Christian allegory, Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard is sure to not disappoint. Written in 1955, the message is just as powerful and relevant today as it was at the time of print. The book dramatizes the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy and victory, challenging the reader to aspire to a deeper trusting relationship with their Savior.

Much-Afraid is the main character who comes to learn that both suffering and sorrow are the instruments that her Shepherd-King lovingly uses to break her own self-will and fear. Through a serious of difficult and soul testing experiences, she is transformed into a beautiful, gracious and humble handmaiden who learns that Acceptance with Joy is the most rewarding and satisfying way to live life and face temptations and trials with her Savior.

Those who go through fiery trials and come out the other side praising our Savior and having a deeper trust for His provision and goodness, have also learnt the lesson called ‘Acceptance with Joy’. They understand that no matter what lays ahead, no matter how frightening or intimidating it may appear, Jesus goes before us and in His great love, will make a way to bring us through. There is untold comfort when we can truly say we have arrived at this place.

1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Paul was at that place. As Jesus called those who would follow Him to count the cost and expect persecution (John 15:20), so Paul bluntly prepared believers to expect suffering along the path that leads to our future glory. Furthermore he told them to rejoice! Paul understood the secret of rejoicing and being content in every situation and because of this, he could face the uncertainty of the future with hope and a deep trust in His LORD. Can we do the same?

John 6:68-69 Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of eternal life.

Much-Afraid knew that in the fiery trials her LORD led her through, if she feared or panicked or wanted to flee the torment of her situation, there was, in reality, nowhere else to turn. All that she needed to face her fear and move ahead, was to trust the love of the Shepherd-King. He had never disappointed and she knew in her heart, He would continue to sustain her. Remember the strikingly honest words of Jesus’ disciple, Simon Peter? Through experience, he had come to know that Jesus is the Holy One of God and in no one else, he could depend.

In no one else we can depend. This assurance comes through experience. Experience comes through trusting Jesus through the fiery trials. His words in Isaiah instill confidence and hope.

Isaiah 43:2 When you pas through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Where else can we go? To whom can we turn? There is no Savior and Deliverer like our LORD!

Acceptance with Joy takes root and grows deep in our heart as we exercise our faith in His unrelenting love for us and act upon it in those time when we would rather flee as our friend Jonah did!

Are you struggling with joyfully accepting the place where the LORD has you right now? It is no accident or serendipitous occurrence that you are going through a trial. God desires to shape us to become more like His son, Jesus, as we surrender, submit, accept and then joyfully and contentedly trust Him through the process. And often it is a process, isn’t it? Joyful acceptance doesn’t just happen. Our rebellious and independent spirit sometimes takes a bit of breaking!

In time however, we will say, as Much-Afraid did to her LORD, ‘Thank you for leading me here, so that I can be emptied of myself and filled with your love.’ We will find a gulf opening up between how we used to be (fearful, anxious and distrustful of our LORD) to acting with a new spirit that is joyful, trustful of our Savior and fully resigned to whatever He lovingly orchestrates.

1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Heavenly Father, in You do I trust, for there is no one else to whom I can turn. Help me in my weakness and frailty LORD to put my confidence and trust in You alone. May I in time, be able to thank You for the fiery trials and see Your good purposes in them. Help me to have the eyes of faith. Amen.

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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One comment

  1. Jennifer, such a beautiful story and article – The story you read sounds inspirational, as is your post.
    Thank you for your moving words and dedication to the LORD dear friend.
    God Bless~

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