A few weeks ago, my naturopath asked me to start doing some resistance training for the upper body. I do a lot of walking and hiking but not much to strengthen my arms. I bought some five-pound weights, looked up a set of exercises, and started some workout sessions.
I took it easy, planning to build up slow. The weights were easy to lift and didn’t strain me at all. The exercises weren’t hard. Within two weeks, my elbow began to hurt. I quit the exercises, intending to let the elbow heal up, but that didn’t happen. Instead, it got worse—to the point that I was having trouble lifting my water glass to take a drink.
By this time, my shoulder was hurting too. I have an old injury to my elbow, and to my shoulder, so this isn’t surprising. I realized I had to do something. I didn’t want to see a regular medical doctor because that would result in pain medication, which I don’t like taking. Instead, I contacted an acupuncturist and made an appointment.
The acupuncturist was very nice. We talked about what happened with my elbow and shoulder and she made a recommendation for treatment. She did the first treatment, telling me I would have some soreness and to use heat, and I went home. Only to find the next morning that I’d gotten worse.
I wanted the pain to be gone. I wanted my arm back to normal. I wanted the miracle cure. That didn’t happen.
Have you ever felt like trials like these come one after the other and don’t seem to stop? And then you read the following scripture:
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,” James 1:2 (NKJV)
What?! How are we supposed to be joyful about something that causes such pain or discomfort? Why would God ask us to be joyful in these circumstances? The scripture goes on to say:
“…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:3-4 (NKJV)
We aren’t to be happy about the pain, whether from an injury, an illness, or the emotional pain of losing someone close to us. We are to be joyful that God is helping us with the trial, helping us to grow more like Him. We are growing ever closer to being perfect and complete in God.
This is what I’m striving to remember as I continue with the treatments. My elbow and shoulder are slowly getting better. It isn’t happening overnight, but I am learning to deal with the discomfort. I’m learning to be patient.
I’m learning to trust that God has the best in mind for me.
I hope that when you face trials, and we all do, that you will embrace these verses. That you will learn to be patient and joyful that God has the best in mind for you too.