2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Trials are unavoidable. James puts it clearly in his first chapter: “WHENEVER you face trials”. Not, ‘if’ you face trials, but ‘when’. As believers we often forget that Jesus doesn’t promise us earthly comfort, but rather assures us that we WILL FACE trials, persecution, and suffering. Therefore, it is vitally important for us to develop the correct spiritual approach when faced with trials. James encourages us not to complain about our trials, but to adopt a positive outlook and “consider it pure joy” to endure suffering. This is due to the fact that God uses ALL things for our good (Rom 8:28), including hard times. In this case, suffering produces perseverance, an essential quality of a mature believer. In essence suffering is an opportunity for spiritual growth, not a season of back-pedaling and brokenness.
Fear often accompanies seasons of trial. Most become anxious and worried about how the situation will turn out. Rightfully so, no one likes being in the dark. However, God often blinds us from the outcome in effort to draw us into dependency and intimacy with Him. So whenever we are faced with trials, instead of trying to avoid them, or asking God to remove them, embrace them. Stand boldly (persevere) in the face of uncertainty, believing and trusting that God has a plan for this season – a good and perfect plan.
In Deuteronomy 31:6 its states: “be strong and courageous because the Lord our God is with us and He will never leave nor forsake us”. Our motivation and foundation to endure is built on the character of our God. We serve the Almighty God who is on our side, fighting for us, and has promised to never leave or forsake us.
The apostle Paul experienced more trials than most people. In one instance, Acts 16 tells us that Paul was arrested and put in jail. The guards threatened to kill him, and instead of responding in fear when faced with trial, he responds by saying: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21). In another portion of Scripture, Paul reiterates: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).
Let us take the same approach as Paul: Embracing our trials; and striving firmly ahead to attain the prize set before us: an eternity with God.
Love in Christ,