The Pure Joy of Trials

Unless God tells me to read something specific for that day, I usually just read straight through the bible. I got to the book of James this week, and it really struck me. I put it on my list of topics to study in the original language. There are so many things on my list, there’s no telling when I’ll get to it. But I can’t stop thinking about it.

James has been my favorite book for many years. Read it and see what you think. It wasn’t written by James, the disciple. He was dead by this time. It was written by the brother of Jesus. Wow! And yet we know from scripture that Jesus’ brothers did not support him during his earthly ministry. I imagine the things God must have spoken into the heart of James after he saw Jesus die and resurrect. As a family member, he knew Jesus from a very intimate perspective. I just love it even without having those extra tidbits from the original Greek/Aramaic.

1:1-8 “From James, a slave of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes dispersed abroad. Greetings!”
Did you see that? A slave of God. Are you sooooo obedient to everything God says to you that it’s like you’re a slave? Remember that Jesus said he had no will except to do the will of the Father. I think I’ve still got a lot of self-will. Let’s go on…
“Joy in Trials
2 My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. 5 But if anyone is deficient in wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without reprimand, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed around by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 since he is a double-minded individual, unstable in all his ways.”
I don’t know about you, but I rarely automatically think of trials as nothing but joy, or as the NIV translation says “pure joy.” I think of them as…well, trials. I don’t much care for them, but James said they were necessary to perfect my faith and endurance. If my faith isn’t perfected, it’s still double-minded, and I won’t receive anything from the Lord if I’m unstable. Are you unstable at times? Quit bemoaning your trials and dig in. Ask God for wisdom about how to make it through because He gives generously to all without reprimand. Are you bewildered by what you’re going through? Consider it as joy because God is teaching you something you didn’t get on your own. He loves you so much that He’s taking time to teach you personally. He’s just waiting for you to ask Him for wisdom on how to proceed THROUGH the trial.
This is a hard word for me. I get stuck at that ‘pure joy’ concept, but when I look at what I’m going to get on the other side, I get excited. I really do want God to perfect me, and I’m getting closer to being able to say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” Job 13:15.