The Joy of Trials

Posted: October 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy…” the phrase seems out of place. The words can hardly be uttered without a sense of doubt or perhaps cynicism. Can you imagine telling  Ruth those words after losing her husband? Who would speak such a phrase to Naomi after losing her own husband and both of her sons. The road will now be lonely. Ruth is a foreigner and a widow. Naomi is now a childless widow. “Count it joy.”

Who would dare to speak such a phrase to Job? I imagine the conversation: “Job, I was in the field and all your livestock were killed…count it joy.” Or,what about a servant who comes in and says, “Job, I was with your children and they were feasting when the roof collapsed and they all died… count it pure joy.” Who would dare have the audacity to turn to job in his misery and see the pain he is suffering as he tries to scratch and cut himself to find relief and utter, “count it pure joy?”

Yet James tells us to count it joy when we face trials because they produce perseverance. The trials help us mature. Thinking again about the story of Ruth and Naomi, we can see some blessings that result from the trials they face. Namoi learns of a daughter-in-law who loves her and is fully devoted to her. Ruth receives the blessing of provision as Boaz allows her to work in his field. She receives so much more as she is eventually married to boaz who serves as her kinsman redeemer.

Job faces many trials. He loses everything. Yet, later he is bless by a double portion. He gains more wealth, he enjoys great health, he has more children.

Our own testing is never pleasant at the time. We wish it would just pass. We long for relief from the hurt; a cure for the pain; an umbrella of protection from the storm. However, the reality is that without the trial we would be unable to mature. The perseverance, even when we do not understand what is going on, teaches us about our relationship with God. So we can be thankful for the lesson we learned. We can begin the journey toward counting it pure joy.

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