Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds…
I wouldn’t say that verse in James is one of my favorites.
I mean, when I need some joy in my life, I don’t usually throw up prayers asking for trials. Do you?
Recently though, I got a great reminder on the impact trials can have in our lives.
You see, my daughter went to a birthday party the other day. It was like a lot of parties except for one small detail. Without us knowing, the birthday girl’s mom had picked up some cupcakes just for Kaylee.
Well, that’s because Kaylee is allergic to nuts. That means sometimes she can’t enjoy party treats…cake, ice cream, cupcakes, brownies…you name it.
And for a kid with a sweet tooth, that can be tough.
I mean, the great thing about parties is the cake, right? The treats! I can’t tell you how many parties, though, Kaylee has attended where she wasn’t able to eat cake.
I don’t know about you, but I start shaking if I’m within 100 yards of the stuff…I want it! I can’t imagine it being three feet from my mouth and not being able to have any!
But Kaylee? She’s a total champ about it…she takes it completely in stride. “It’s no big deal.” she’ll say. (That reaction is a lesson for me all by itself.)
I know deep down she really is disappointed even though she just sits there (usually at the end of the table or at another table away from the others) smiling while everyone else eats up.
Not at this party, though.
At this party, there were cupcakes that were completely nut free – no nuts and not processed in a plant with nuts.
When I was leaving the party, I thanked the host mom for what she had done. She explained that it was “nothing” because she had a food allergy at her home…she understood.
And, it may have been “nothing,” but I was completely touched by the gesture.
I mean, she went out of her way just to make sure my daughter could have a cupcake…could be included. It may seem small and insignificant, but it meant a great deal.
As I reflect back on it, I keep thinking how this is such a great illustration of the way we should use the trials in our lives. I mean, having a child with a food allergy can be hard. It’s not convenient…it takes extra time and attention. You have to be extra diligent to make sure you don’t serve your loved one something that could harm them. And on this particular day, someone took that experience in their own life and used it to show empathy for someone else.
I think that’s one of the reasons God gives us trials …so that He can use them (through us) to benefit others.
Trials aren’t always easy…that’s why they’re called trials. But if we let them, they provide us with experiences that help us to live out the greatest commandment.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart…and Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-40)
We often think of these grand gestures, these TV newsworthy events that are the epitome of trials and showing God’s love, but there are small, everyday “nothings” that can impact the people around us.
It might have seemed like just a cupcake, but to me, it was so much more.
It was a smiling eight year old. It was a relaxed set of parents. It was a reminder that trials aren’t just for us, they’re also for others. It was kind. It was love.
Sometimes love is completely nuts. But sometimes it’s completely nut free.
Thanks for the cupcakes, Karen, and thank you for your example.
I'd like to hear from you! Do you have an example of how God used a trial in your life or another’s to benefit someone else? You can leave a comment by clicking here.