Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. — James 1:2-4
James tells us to consider all joy when we encounter trials. Be joyful in trials? How are we supposed to be joyful when a loved one dies, we get ill, or when we encounter any other number of hardships? I’ve been studying this passage and thinking about it a lot lately, and hopefully I can share what I have learned in a way that will help you understand joy during trials.
True, lasting joy only comes from hope in Christ, not our circumstances. We can have joy when we focus not on the trial happening now, but on the future and the result of the trial. When we focus on the here and now, it seems impossible to have joy, but if we look beyond the trial to the result, we can find joy.
How can we be joyful in trials? By “…knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” Trials are tests to reveal to us the strength or weakness of our faith. God already knows our faith. The trial shows us the strength of our faith, so we may now what it looks like.
If we have endurance and focus on God through our trials, we will come out of the trial “blessed.” (V. 12) Our faith will be stronger.
All trials are for two ends; that we may be better acquainted with the Lord Jesus, and better acquainted with our own hearts. — George Whitfield
You may still be wondering how we can consider trials a joy. I know that can sound crazy, but imagine going through a hard time in life and coming out of it with a closer and deeper relationship with God. It wasn’t until I went through a trial of my own that I realized just how important it was to lean on God for strength and wisdom. That trial was extremely hard, but even before it was over I was thanking God for it, because, possibly for the first time in my life, I was praying all the time and relying on Him for help.
People say hindsight is 20/20. In many ways, I think that’s true. Often we may not understand why a trial is happening while we are in the middle of it. But we can have joy when we look beyond the present trial and realize that God is making us more like Him.
What has God shown you or taught you through your trials?
Your sister in Christ,