James 1:2-8: Joy in trials?

Posted: February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

2 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.

5 If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you. 6 But ask in faith, never doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind; 7, 8 for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:2-8, NRSV)

There are some moments in Scripture that can absolutely leave you scratching your head.  Does James seriously think that I’m going to be joyful when I’m going through the tough moments in life?  Maybe you get where I’m coming from on this.  Joy is often times the last thing that I will feel in the moments of stress, the times of struggle, in the hours of pain, in dealing with fears and questions and doubts.

Yet, that’s where this letter goes.  Go to joy.  Why?  Because it’s a chain reaction.  View it as joy because this trial can test your faith and show you just how much you need God.  And when you realize that about your faith, your faith can mature and grow.

But still, joy? Joy when someone is stabbing you in the back?  Joy when people are talking about you?  Joy when you hear a rumor or half-truth?  Joy?

Maybe what James is ultimately pointing us to is that we can reach a place in our faith when we see past the emotions that we encounter and we can see that God is still present.  It’s a place on the other side of pain and doubt.  It’s the place where we know that no matter what, God is there.

Maybe that’s what can lead us to be able to ask God without doubt.  Why?  Because we’ve had the chance to see God in our trials.  And because we’ve seen God there, we know that he’s going to be there in the future and that God’s never going to leave.

Maybe that’s what I find myself coming back to.  God is here, God is there.  God is always.  Even in the trials.

And for some reason, that does start to make me feel joy.

Almighty and loving God, thank you for your presence with me in the toughest moments of life.  God, you are with me there just as you are with me in happiest of times.  Help me, God, to find the joy in knowing you will not leave even in the toughest of moments I experience. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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