Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:2-4 ESV
James was writing to a people who were suffering. His audience was in conflict. He starts with “count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” It seems a little hard to swallow that we should count it a joy when we come face to face with trials. Trials aren’t fun. Suffering isn't something that I normally look forward to—actually ever. And He isn’t just talking about certain trials but trials of all kinds. Every trial.
Let’s get this straight for a second. We are supposed to consider it joy when we meet any kind of suffering. And then we get to know that it is testing our faith which produces steadfastness or perseverance. It’s easy to think that tests, sufferings or trials are “bad” things. We don’t enjoy being hurt. But we sing that He is a good, good father all the time on Mondays or Wednesdays. That isn't a conditional song. Because while He doesn't get joy from watching us suffer, there is joy in the strengthening of our faith. Just as Jesus was tested in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, we are tested to continue to lock our dependence and need on Him.
Think about going to the gym. When I first started going to the gym I did not like it. It was hard. When I was running I didn't consider it a joy to be out of breath or aching in most parts of my body. But when I got off of the treadmill I felt strengthened. And each time I go to the gym it gets a little easier. Same with trials. I don't know it there will be a day until heaven that we wont have trials. So until then, we are told to find joy. The joy being Jesus— in each hard season. Each hard conversation, hard test grade, hard relationship. We get to find the joy of being dependent on Jesus rather than ourselves. And the more we fall to our knees during these times depending on His truth and His voice, the easier it will be to see Him—in the good and bad days.
Jesus, we thank you that there is joy in the trials. That through you we lack nothing. I pray that we would be transformed by the words James wrote and see you through each trial and each suffering we face.