Once upon a time there were some churches in Macedonia. Macedonia is in Europe, just north of Greece, for those who like this sort of detail in their stories.
These churches faced a time of great trial. The trial itself is not of importance in this retelling. Just know, they were at a low time. Because of this trial they were afflicted. They were impoverished.
Maybe we would imagine that they shut themselves up in their churches, drew the curtains, and wept. Or they budgeted what was left of the church finances, tightened their belts, and settled in for a long, hard year.
Could it have been that some folks just gave up altogether, went home, and went about their own business? Maybe they whispered among themselves about the leadership. Maybe they questioned God.
But, in actuality, these people didn't do any of that.
With everything that they had in themselves, with all their power and then beyond any power that they possessed, they gave themselves to the Lord. They offered their lives for His service. Fully surrendered to His will, they gave themselves to serving others.
They didn't have much, materially speaking, but what they did have they gave it all. They gave of themselves so generously that one would have thought they were rich.
These people, in what could have been a terrible time of depression, instead possessed a great JOY that defied all logical explanation. This joy was not an outward show, no fake smiles and plastered on happiness. No, they embraced what was happening and chose to serve God through the pain. And God rewarded them with HIS joy.
The firing pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts. Proverbs 17:3
These folks were tried and found faithful. Maybe we can all trust the process a little more in our own lives. Despite circumstances, throwing ourselves into the service of the King.
This little bit of story is found in II Corinthians 8:1-7.
And for myself I would pray Job 23:10 -
But He knoweth the way that I take,
when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold.