“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…”
Every time I read the book of James, every time my eyes try to stroll pass that second verse without taking it in, every time I’m in a trial and trying to find comfort, I can’t help but think James was a little crazy. Or high on drugs. Or maybe just completely off his rocker.
Consider. It. Pure. Joy.
When you are let go from your job, consider it pure joy.
When your marriage is falling apart, consider it pure joy.
When the checkbook doesn’t have enough to pay your bills, consider it pure joy.
When you are being persecuted, mocked and tormented, consider it pure joy.
When life as you know it is falling apart, consider if pure joy.
When the pregnancy ends abruptly, consider it pure joy.
When your child chooses the ways of the world over the ways of Christ, consider it pure joy.
When the car breaks down, the house is broken into or the neighbor tries to sue, consider it pure joy.
When trials and tribulations come, my immediate reaction isn’t to jump up and down with joy. I don’t relish the idea of going through hard times. I don’t pray for them. I don’t ask God to make me more joyful by putting me through trials. I don’t consider trials the joyous times of my life.
Trials and joy don’t really go hand in hand for me.
And I think it’s safe to assume, they don’t go hand in hand for you, either.
Joy in trials goes against our very nature.
And while James’ statement may make it seem a bit weird, while his command to consider it not just regular joy, but pure joy to go through, seems a bit crazy, maybe he was onto something. Because trials produce something in us that no amount of blessing or comfort or gift ever could.
Trials help us grow.
If we allow them to, the trials and hardships we face have the potential to build our character, deepen our faith, and widen our compassion. They help us weed out our bad attitudes and thought patterns and pride. They push us to depend on fully on God for everything. They shape us, mold us, and smooth out our rough edges.
Trials bring us into maturity and make us more like Christ.
And that is something to rejoice over.
Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because those trials and hardships and nights you find yourself crying out to God with seemingly no answer are producing in you the character and maturity to walk into all God has for you.
And so, my brothers and sisters, as you face trials and hardships and difficulties in life, may you find yourself rejoicing. May you come to see that every season of life, both good and bad, are being used to mold you into the person God has called you to be. And may you, as you push into Him in your trials, find that the very hardship you want to run from, is the very thing you needed to grow closer to God.