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.
Finding Joy in Trials
Ginny was heartbroken. Her favorite aunt, Aunt Cathy, had been such a strong, Christian woman and an inspiration to everyone. She had fought the cancer for so long, but in the end “the Lord called her home.” At least that’s what the pastor had said at her funeral. He also mentioned her strong faith in Jesus. So then why would God let her suffer so much only to let her die like that?
Maybe you have had a similar crisis of faith at some point in your own life. When you did, how did you feel about your situation? Sad? Frustrated? Worried? Angry? In our Bible verse for today, James, the brother of Jesus himself, encourages us to “consider it pure joy” whenever we encounter events that put our faith to the test.
It’s not that God wants us to have a morbid desire to suffer. And he certainly doesn’t want us to chase after temptations and spiritually dangerous obstacles to our faith. No, they will come often enough without our having to look for more. But when these dark clouds come, God wants us to see the silver lining.
You see, the Lord knows that we are weak. Our faith in him and in his promises easily wavers. On our own, we would wander away from God and bring even more trouble into our lives. So he allows us to face trials of all kinds—because he also knows that when believers are tested and overwhelmed by doubts or fears, they will run to their Savior. They run to him who faced all of Satan’s temptations but never gave in to sin. They run to Jesus who did not run from death but gave his life so that we could walk with him forever. And every time we run to him, we find him waiting with open arms.
The more our faith in Christ is tested, the stronger it becomes, because we witness time and again how trustworthy he is and how certain his promises are.
Lord God, every day I face tests to my faith. Use them to strengthen my confidence in you so that I will remain forever close to Christ my Savior. Amen.