Down through the years, one of my favorite songs by Ron Hamilton has been “Rejoice in the Lord.” Ron wrote this song back when he first was diagnosed with cancer in his left eye. Though Ron and Shelly did not understand all that God was doing at that moment, they learned to commit themselves to God’s gracious hand and let Him do what He knew was best.
Of course, looking back now, everyone can see that God was preparing the Hamilton family for a lifetime of musical ministry to children—our children through “Patch the Pirate.” As I listened to Ron give his testimony, it was clear that he would not change one step of their trial and he was careful to give God the glory, rejoicing in the Lord.
The words of the song have special meaning to those who are going through trials:
“God never moves without purpose or plan, When trying His servant or molding a man. Give thanks to the Lord, though your testing seems long; In darkness, He giveth a song.
“O rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake. He knoweth the end of each path that I take. For when I am tried and purified, I shall come forth as gold.”
Times of trial are not meant to be enjoyed—they are meant to be understood. While we may not always fully comprehend what God is doing at the moment, we can understand that God never works on a whim or with randomness, but with purpose to shape us, cleanse us, and prepare us for greater things.
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2–4
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:7
When I go through times of testing and trial, I try (not always succeeding) to ask the Lord to help me see His hand as He works to purge me, strengthen me, and clarify His plan for my life. And if I cannot see His hand, I try to at least continue to trust Him, knowing He has promised to never leave me or forsake me. When I do this, He enables me to face each new day and new challenge with a sense of His purpose and trust my life to His care.
“Now I can see, testing comes from above; God strengthens His children and purges in love. My Father knows best, and I trust in His care; through purging more fruit I will bear.”
The ultimate goal in God-allowed trials it to bring us to the place where we can bear more fruit. The testing, the trials, the learning to depend upon Him all work together to make you and me more productive in God’s harvest field.
What trials have you passed through recently? Have they helped you grow in your relationship with the Lord? Have they brought maturing in faith, strengthening of resolve, and humility of spirit? Remember that God allows these times of trial to make us better, not bitter. And when we experience our spiritual fruitfulness increasing, then we can join in singing, “O rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake. He knoweth the end of each path that I take. For when I am tried and purified, I shall come forth as gold.”