“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” – James 1:2
Look closely. God’s Word doesn’t say, “IF you face trials.” God’s Word says, “WHEN you face trials.” In other words, it’s a given. And He also doesn’t say ‘trial.’ It’s not singular, it’s plural. In other words, we’re going to have a lot of problems. Count on it.
Yet, James is saying, “Consider it all joy.” How can it be? So many of you are going through some very difficult trials right now. Loss of jobs. Facing financial difficulties. Prolonged illness. The trials of grief. Some have a very unhealthy work situation or are facing relational challenges within your family. There can be hundreds of forms of trials, but God’s Word tells us the truth – we are going to face trials.
Now for the confusing part. You ARE going to face trials. We got that. But, God’s Word goes on to say, “Consider it all joy.” Really??? How can you count it all joy? It’s contrary to human nature. Well, the person who is a follower of Jesus Christ can begin to understand joy amidst trials when they realize that trials have a purpose.
Read the scripture again. When we go through trials, we can begin to build endurance, patience and perseverance. Sometimes it’s only when we come to the end of ourselves that we’re able to release those trials to God and say, “God this is too big for me. I can’t deal with it.” Then, we begin to see the power of God’s strength in our lives and, amazingly, we find joy in the midst of it…C.S. Lewis called it “Surprised by Joy.”
If you’re going through some difficult times in your life, hand them over to God. Trust Him enough to know that He will walk (or carry) you through all of it. He won’t let go. Once you have done that – and you realize you’re not alone – you’ll feel a smile creeping onto your face and a sense of joy will begin to flow into your heart. It really is amazing.