Dr. Dan Hayden • 

Are you in over your head? Has some trial of life engulfed you? Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to despair. In fact, you can consider it all joy.

In James 1:2 we read, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…”

It’s that word “encounter” I want us to look at today. It’s a word that means “to fall in with something so that it engulfs you.” It means to become involved in something so that you’re totally immersed in it.”


It would be like falling into the pool with your clothes on. Now you are immersed in the problem. The water is all around you so that you either have to dogpaddle in order to stay afloat, or you have to somehow work your way to the edge of the pool so that you can get out. You have fallen into a trial.

Now that can all be very disturbing except for the fact that God says it’s good for you. It’s good for you to have to face trials. The reason, of course, is that it forces you to be patient with life and to wait upon God for His strength and wisdom. It forces you to get in shape so that you’re not a wimp.

Listen – if the only spiritual exercise you get is going to church once a week you’re probably going to get spiritually fat and flabby. But the more you are challenged in your daily life to reach out to God, the stronger you’re going to get spiritually. That’s good for you.

So, it all begins to make sense. “Encounters” are how God gives you spiritual exercise.

Hey, don’t wimp out – get into shape!