Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. – James 1:2-3

The Israelites lived under the oppression of Pharoah for what, 400 years?  I expect God to fix my problems today.  The Israelites wander around for 40 more years drifting in and out of love with God.  I need God to do his thing now, to end the trials I’m going through.  Right?  Have you ever felt that way?  And then James pops off with his little tidbit of wisdom – to consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds.  Pure joy?  What kind of wine was that guy drinking? 

I hope you hear my sarcasm in some of the statements above and the truth in others.  I have often asked God why he wasn’t cleaning up my mess quicker, why he didn’t just put an end to the problems.  I lost faith at times, looked other places to get the answers I wanted, tried to get back to God but still wanted things done my way.  After far too many years of living in oppression (by satan’s tactics), after much prayer and finally getting knocked down to my knees, I am seeing God part the Red Sea, seeing God provide manna, seeing God take care of me everyday in so many different ways and I do count it as pure joy for my trials because they have been the very thing that have driven me back to the arms of God.

The joy of trials doesn’t come from the trial, it comes from seeing what unimaginable things God does in the trial.  The joy comes in knowing that I don’t have to figure my way out, God will lead me.  The joy comes in knowing the pressure isn’t on me, God will carry me when he needs to and he will use me when he can.  The joy comes in knowing that my Creator, the one who loves me more than any other, the one who showers me with mercy and never turns away, that my LORD is with me every step of the way.

James is full of good wisdom but I want to end to day with verse 12 from James 1 – the result of our joy in enduring trials.  Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.  James 1:12

Grace and peace to you.
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