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How many parents have sat with their children after an ordeal of some sort and said something to the effect, "I hope you learned something from that"?  We don't want our children to miss the lessons, the opportunity for growth and maturity.

In the same way, our Father in heaven wants us to learn and grow from the trials He brings to our lives. That's part of the "joy" of which James speaks when he urges us to consider it all joy when we encounter trials of various kinds.  

When our goal is merely to survive the hardships of our lives, we miss out on the sanctifying lessons our God has for us.  Through trials we learn of the glories of our God, the strength of His grace, the comfort of His presence, and the competitors for our heart.  

The key is to expect and look for these blessings that would not have come to us apart from the storm. 

I want to commend a resource I wrote to help in that endeavor, The Prayer of Jehoshaphat: Seeing Beyond Life's Storms.  You can find a description at the bottom.  

I read a comment from a pastor's blog that affirmed for me the benefit of the book and how God has used it: "The Prayer of Jehoshaphat is finally a book on prayer that truly SPOKE to me. I'm not saying there aren't other good books on prayer...but this one reached deep down into my soul. I feel better prepared on why to pray, how to pray, what to pray. I was so encouraged TO pray because of how the author presents God's heart of grace toward us in Christ. I was encouraged to not be distracted by what seems to be an 'experience' that contradicts the promises of God and to keep focusing on those promises and God's character. I was encouraged to pray expectantly and to pray big prayers again.”

http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/5190/nm/Prayer+of+J...

Description: The Prayer of Jehoshaphat develops King Jehoshaphat’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 to give us focus, stability, strength, courage and direction in times of great distress.  In the overwhelming circumstances that enter our lives, it directs us to take hold of the hand of our God who leads us from the point of crisis to gather up His blessings for us deposited by the storm.  Each chapter can serve as a workstation where we bring others or linger ourselves with God, wrestling with the perspective brought to bear on our need, as we follow the movement from bleakness to blessing.

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