“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. Let perseverance finish its work so you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4). Who would think that it is a good idea to consider it pure joy when we face trials? I think we tend to consider it pure torture when we face trials but the Lord doesn’t see it that way. His recommendation is to maintain joy in the midst of trials. He says we should hold on to joy even when things are rocky and chaotic. His joy is our strength and if we remain joyful in the hard times, we will have the power we need to stay strong. Nothing is better than having what it takes to face anything that comes our way. With Jesus we always have what it takes and He has put joy in our hearts so that we can stand tall when the enemy wants us to be small and diminished. Joy increases our potential to face the day. Fear and doubt decrease our ability to deal with life. When they are high, life seems impossible to bear. When we adhere to negative thoughts, we turn up the volume of defeat and failure. When we tap into the joy of the Lord, we turn up the volume of victory and triumph. Today I want to reiterate what the Lord says and encourage you to count it all joy. Don’t get excited because you are suffering. Get excited that you are going to make it through the trials and you are going to get some nice faith muscles.
Trials can be debilitating. A trial is a test, a problem or a difficulty. Problems make us wonder and they make us doubt. Difficulties stall us and make us wonder how we are going to make it. Tests just make us anxious and they hurt our faith. Now, we are not supposed to see trials as the end all be all. We have to think about what we have to deal with the trials and more specifically who we have on our side. The Lord is the solver of all trials. He is the deal breaker. Life deals us a bad hand sometimes and the Lord breaks that deal. He makes things right. He restores and repairs. We can choose to keep our eyes on the deal breaker or we can choose to let the deal break us. We all get dealt some bad cards but the Lord holds us in the palm of His hand and He holds the cards that give us access to a better life, to a better situation and to a better tomorrow. Don’t let the trials of life control your emotions and your feelings. You are going to make it through them thanks to the Lord. Keep thinking about it. Keep thinking of victory and not failure. Keep thinking triumph and not defeat. Keep thinking that it is going to get better and not that it is going to get worse. It could get worse before it gets better but with the Lord, it will get better. Your goal, friend, is to hang in there and keep persevering in faith. The more you do it, the stronger your faith will be. The rewards that come from having a strong faith are endless. You will be able to handle anything the enemy throws at you. Nothing will be impossible to you because of the greater One who lives in you!
Staying joyful when things are bad is ground for more joy. The Lord sees us and He gives us more joy. His joy can multiply and it can bring on even more strength. I remember a time when I had no idea how I was going to make it. I was about to embark on a new journey with a new job and I moved to a new place. I didn’t have much money. I was still a student. It didn’t look like it was wise to look for a place to live and to make a move to another part of the state. I did it all in faith. I didn’t give up on the dream the Lord had put in my heart. He had told me I would be an educator and I would have a choice of where I would like to work. I had tried years before and failed miserably. However, the dream came back stronger and I couldn’t ignore it. I went with it. I applied for two jobs and I was offered both jobs. It was up to me to decide which one I wanted. I prayed about it. The Lord pointed out which one I should choose. I trusted Him. I walked in faith. I turned down one of the jobs and the one I chose actually paid $10,000 more than the other one. I have been working there for over ten years now and I have enjoyed every single day. This job has been a blessing. Everything came together. The Lord provided amazingly when I had nothing. I stayed joyful even when I had little money. He took care of it. His joy gave me the strength to make it. That difficult experience allowed me to grow in my faith and to always expect that the Lord would come through for me. Consider it pure joy, friend even when it makes no sense and when you feel like crying. You are building faith muscles. Stay strong! May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!
Suggested reading: Romans 1:17; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:6-8