“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~James 1:2-4
No one should expect you to consider it a joy to lose your beloved spouse, to get that 2:00 a.m. phone call that your teenager has been seriously injured in an accident, to hear the word “cancer” come from your doctor’s lips, or discover your 20-year marriage is over because of your husband’s lust for his co-worker. No way!You’re right. No one, not even God, expects you to be happy when bad things happen or to shrug them off as no big deal. In fact, just the opposite is true.
You can’t stop reading when James instructs us to “consider it pure joy.” That’s like reading half the recipe and combining half the ingredients. If you don’t keep reading, you’ll end up with a half-baked casserole. When you stop reading James’ instructions after the words “trials of many kinds,” you simply fall short.
According to James, trials are tests of faith. When we cling to our faith in Jesus during a moment of crisis, the outcome of our perseverance grows a stronger faith.
Paul tells us the same thing in Romans 5:3-5. Our suffering grows and matures our character. It amplifies the hope we have in God. Therefore, we can rejoice in our sufferings through our growing faith in Christ.
Most people struggle to know what it means to have joy or to rejoice. Many think of joy as being happy, giddy, excited, or elated. However, that’s not what joy is. Joy is more than that.
Joy is the assurance and confidence that God is in complete control of every situation in my life; the knowledge that God will work everything out for my good; knowing that God is there to heal, guide, and control; deciding to praise God no matter what.
Now…re-read the verses at the beginning of this post. Can you see it? Can you see the reasons for joy?
Keyword: Why Me