Trials are Actually Trails

James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Etymology is the study of the origins of words, so if you look carefully at the word “Trial”, if you switch the i and a, you come up with “Trail”. And if you study this further trials are actually trails.

It dawned on me today as I took my dog for a walk on a trail, that trials are trails. The premise is getting from point A to point B on a trail as well as a trial in your life. I have ignored this trail for a couple of weeks, because of the snow we had. Once we got on the trail, it was easier than I thought it would be. And we do this with various trials in our life as well, the same premise from getting from point A to point B. Some trials/trails are going to be easy, some will be VERY difficult.

Which leads me to the next word “try” which comes from the word “trial”. A criminal is tried in court, where prosecutor describes a trail, point A to point B of which the criminal committed. Or when faced with a trial in our life and we gave up, the response might be “well, I tried”. The trying is our action in the trial/trail.

And my personal opinion is that when faced with difficult trials/trails in our life, women have a much better “try” than men. Men think of a trial as a competition, women think of it as a completion. I think of a woman I know who had her third operation now for breast cancer. Her trail is a mud ridden swamp in the analogy, quicksand. On the other side of that swamp are her children who she will never give up trying to get to. I think of my Mom, faced with a terrible car accident and financial difficulty, never giving up on that extremely difficult trail which is like climbing a hill in 20 feet of snow. I think of the women with Jesus, faced with immediate persecution did not give up trying and were there with Him at the Cross as He died, while every Apostle except for John were cowering in their homes, and probably regretted this for as long as they lived.

Sometimes on a trial/trail in your life, where that be a relationship, financially, a death, a crisis, a serious health issue, you will look behind or look back and see that you had no trail behind you, no footsteps, and that is when God literally CARRIED you on that trail. Sometimes during a trial, the enemy whispers “just give up, you’ll never make it”, and sometimes he wins.

One thing about trials/trails is they don’t vanish. You can’t ignore them thinking “just go away”, they remain and we are tasked to go on them. The key is to completing ANY trial, whether it be easy or difficult is that you turn to God to help you through it. Sometimes He’ll give us a trail as that mud ridden swamp or 20 foot of snow to trudge through so that we have NO PLACE OTHER TO TURN, than to Him.

As James mentioned, “count it all joy” because the trial/trail produced something, your faith and patience. I am the type of person who at times when given a trial, I get so obsessed in the completion of it, that sometimes I miss that part about patience. And if you aren’t patient, frustration will come on the trail.

Some trails like a trail my dog and I go on will be difficult every day. There is one which gets snow blown in every day and we have to trudge through it making it new again. The same can be said for our many trials. We might have thought the trial was over, only to realize it wasn’t over and we must do it all over again. “Count in all joy”, and learn that you already completed the trail, so you can do it again.

Thanks be to God for the trials/trails we complete! If not for Him, we’d still be stuck at point A instead of ever even attempting to get to to point B, the completion.

Lastly, I think of Jesus Christ’s trial/trail. Born in a lonely manger, His trail was leading to His ultimate death on the Cross. And even He faced much difficulty, as He asked that this trial be removed in my estimation NOT because He feared death, but because He would be seperated from the Father and Holy Spirit while He took on our sins so that we could be forgiven. So yes, God understands your difficult trials, He can empathize with every tear and heartache and anxiety you are feeling. Turn to Him, and turn to Him alone and He will help you through the end of the trail!

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