This past Sunday, Shannon spoke about how once you have accepted Christ, you are officially adopted into His family. As a result of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ we become sons and daughters of the Most High God. What an amazing, wonderful, and overwhelming truth to celebrate!
So, that awesome news has to mean that the rest of our lives will be smooth sailing, right?!
In fact, James 1:2-4 puts it this way:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
I have been a follower of Christ for over twenty years now and I have always struggled with this verse. Notice that it doesn’t say “if troubles of any kind come your way…,” but when. It even goes on to say that when you do experience trials you should consider them pure joy. I mean, why in the world would I want to consider troubles as joy??? There is nothing joyful about going through difficult times or facing hardships.
Over and over I’ve read this verse and tried to figure out how to have the joy that James writes about. And then I took some time to study the word consider. The realization that I came to has totally changed the way I view the inevitable challenges I will face throughout my life. Consider means to “think carefully about (something), typically before making a decision.” In other words, if I take time to consider a problem I’m facing, I’m simply thinking about it. I’m not expected to actually feel joy.
The word ‘consider’ calls us to a mental exercise. Not an emotion. James isn’t telling us to have a knee-slapper over all we’re going through. He’s telling us to think, to reflect, and to esteem the unalloyed joys available to us ‘whenever [we] experience various trials’. -Beth Moore Mercy Triumphs: Lessons from James
Personally, I’m in the midst of a trial. I know that I’ve been obedient to something God has asked me to do. The problem is that it’s not working out the way I envisioned. I’ve told God so many times that if He could just make it all happen the way I want it to that it would be such an amazing story to tell. He keeps telling me that He doesn’t need me to write amazing stories for Him.
So, where does that answer leave me? It leaves me trying my best to consider this situation as joy. I don’t have to feel joy or be happy about the circumstances. But I do have to trust God when He says that He can write His own stories.
How can you consider joy in the midst of a trial you’re currently facing?