The Joy of Trials
Have you ever faced a trial? Have you ever endured suffering? Have you ever dealt with difficulty in your life? Of course, you have. We all have. Life in a fallen world is hard. It is difficult and it often hurts. Thankfully, those who trust in the Lord are not without hope in the middle of the suffering. James writing to those who are in the Dispersion states,
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(Jas. 1:2-4 ESV)
He encourages his brothers to count it all joy when they meet trials of various kinds. His words ring strange in our ears because rarely, if ever, do we associate joy and trials. Joy is associated with the birth of a child, a wedding, salvation, good news, but not trials. Yet, James instructed his audience to count it all joy when trials of various kinds came their way. The word count has the connotation of a settled disposition or decision. James means for his hearers to decidedly put on a joyful attitude when facing trials of various kinds. But Why?
James tells them the trials are not without purpose. The testing of their faith produces steadfastness and steadfastness, when it has its full effect, produces perfection and completion so that nothing is lacking. He tells them the trials, the tests, the suffering that they face are for a reason…that they may mature, that they may grow in Christlikeness. The trials assist in their sanctification and for this reason they are to count it all joy.
Do you count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds? Do you count it all joy when someone betrays your trust? Do you count it all joy when you lose a job? Do you count it all joy when you get a life-change diagnosis? Do you count it all joy when you are falsely accused? Do you count it all joy when natural disasters strike? Do you count it all joy when you have the flu?
Do you count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds?
Heed the words of James and set your gaze on the purpose for the trials. They are meant to aide you in your sanctification. The testing of your faith is meant to strengthen your faith. It is meant to purify your faith.
Friends settle in your soul now to count it all joy when you face trials of various kinds. They are sure to come. May we welcome them as they serve to help form Christ in us.
By His Grace Alone,