“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
Fact: Each and every one of us have faced and are going to continue to face difficult things. We cannot escape the tragedy of losing a loved one, the disappointment of failing to achieve a goal, letting down a family member, being let down by a family member… The list could go on and all of us are well acquainted with difficult things. They come in many different shapes and sizes. You could have a fortune, a family, a great job, and still—you will have difficult things come.
When we start to look at the Bible, we learn a lot from how God ordered things in Genesis. He created the heavens and earth, placed humankind on it, and gave them responsibility. We knew no difficulties. No death. No disappointment. Then, sin came. When we disobeyed God’s direction and failed to trust His hand to take care of us, things spiraled out of control quickly. Thankfully, God began a journey in redeeming His people.
But sin is like a rock hitting a sheet of ice. You can see the moment of impact and how it leaves a divot, but it’s effect spider webs out from that place. Here we find ourselves in a world that has spider webs of sin from all of us and its evidence is seen all over. Often times, we hurt ourselves by our own volition to disobey God. But we also can face difficulties as a result of living in a sinful world.
Here’s where God is yet again, ridiculously good to us. While we know we have hope of future and total restoration, He brings meaning and purpose to our current difficulties. James writes that our current trials can be faced with joy. That trials now are a test of our faith that creates perseverance in us—a resolve to continually trust the Lord— and when we persevere, God uses it to shape us and mold us in maturity.
When hard things come, can we switch our mind from complaining, questioning, and being defeated to joy? Joy is found in trusting the Lord, and knowing trials are temporary and used for our good. Is there a trial in your life where you need to be reminded of this promise?