"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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." [James 1:2-4 NIV]

Consider it pure joy. What a crazy idea, right? James tells us that we do not have to wait for suffering to end to have joy. Heartache weighs heavy, and even when we make it through one trial, another is bound to be on the horizon waiting for us.

How can we sing about the "Goodness of God" when facing trials and tribulations? Where is the joy when we are going through trials and tribulations? Where is the joy in the wars going on around the world, gun violence, stabbings, earthquakes, flooding, etc.? How can the people in Israel and Ukraine sing about God's goodness when their homes are destroyed and their families are killed? Where is God in all of this? How can James say, "consider it pure joy whenever you face trials"? We will face trials during our lifetime.

Some of us are enduring trials right now. Our world is currently upside down in suffering and pain, and this idea of "consider it pure joy" seems crazy to our human mind and soul. However, true joy does not stem from our circumstances but rather from our trust and relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

James is not saying we have to pretend there is no pain in the trial. However, he is saying we should practice patience in action and look for the positives in the situation.

Many times, God is trying to teach us something specific through our trials. Such as we can learn to nurture patience through trials, we can realize our true character under pressure. We can grow in our faith. We can learn to nurture our time with God and cultivate a stronger prayer life.

To be clear, there are some trials from which God gives us a way of escape. We do not need to stay in an abusive relationship, avoid getting help for depression, or endlessly punishing ourselves as some penance for our failures. James is not talking about "remaining under" in situations where God has provided a way out. That would be like staying in a burning building when we should be fleeing to safety. Moreover, if He has not yet provided a way out, that does not mean we cannot ask Him.  

Let us pause for a moment and think about the trials we have gone through in life. If we had never experienced those trials, our faith would be weak, but because of our trials, faith has grown stronger in the Lord.  

Faith Step:  What trials are you dealing with right now that God may want to use to strengthen you? Where do you struggle with doubt? [Read Psalms 23, 121]

Dear Father God, we praise and thank You for Your loving-kindness and great mercy, which is new every morning and remains steadfast and sure throughout the day - to strengthen and hold us.

Lord, thank you for all you do out of your great love for us. We pray th
at our heart seeks you and desires to see your goodness in all of life's circumstances. Amen!

Written by Donnis Prass





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