“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” -James 1:2-4
Life comes at us hard. There is not a person alive who has not faced (or will face) hardship of one kind or another.
I remember one individual in my entire life who had said they had never faced a difficult situation. I was working at a church camp as a member of our college camp team. One of my responsibilities was to help lead a small group of students every evening to kind of discuss practical ways to implements the ideas the students had been learning about all day.
One of the other leaders asked the question if anyone had ever faced a difficult situation in their lives (fully expecting a unanimous “yes”). One girl in the group shook her head.
“You’ve never had any kind of hardship?”
“Has there ever been a time when you have questioned your faith?”
“Nothing has ever happened which has made you sad?”
No matter how the question was worded, the girl was pretty adamant that nothing in her life had ever been difficult. Which, if true, is great for her!
However she’s in the minority. Most people have face trials or difficulties in our lives. Some of us have had enough to cover for several lifetimes.
The Bible is pretty clear that, even as Christians we will face trials.
In the book of 1 Peter, we are told how to handle trials and to not be surprised when they pop up.
Jesus even taught that, “in this world you will have trouble.”
Then, we have James here who tells us to count it joy when we face trials.
What an outlandish thing to say. For most of us, when we begin to face trials we do not respond in joy.
We respond in questioning God.
“What did I do to deserve this?”
“How will I ever get through such a terrible ordeal?”
But we are instructed to do differently. Instead of self-pity, we are to find joy in the situation. Rather than constantly asking questions (although there’s nothing wrong with questions, even David did that) let’s look for the ways God is working.
We are given the “why” for the command as well: “for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness [perseverance].”
Then, this steadfastness leads to us being mature and complete.
Trials are difficult to face when we go through them, but the results are a stronger and wiser person who is closer to God.
So when your faith is tested, rejoice.
When you face a trial as a result of your faith, count it joy.
Then keep pushing forward and watch the work God is doing in your life is completed.
Watch as the seed of faith grows into a strong tree producing fruit.