-Reese Kauffman, President
God tells us to make a conscious commitment to face trails with joy.
I’ve been told that some people think they will have no more problems after they come to Christ. If so, they will learn the truth quickly! Problems are part of being alive.
Have you ever had to teach a children’s class when you were overwhelmed with a difficulty in your life? It can be more than a distraction; it can be crippling. That is why we need to turn quickly to the Word of God when we face tough situations.
God’s Little Instructions Book
In James chapter 1 we are given instruction on how to deal with difficulties. Verse 2 tells us to “consider it pure joy,…whenever you face trails of many kinds.” God tells us to make a conscious commitment to face trails with joy-unreserved joy. That hardly sounds reasonable. How can we be supremely happy when we are hindered by difficulties?
James tells us this is possible through knowing God’s purpose for trails. He wants to test our faith and cause us to grow.
Testing isn’t usually fun. It can bring tremendous stress. A short time ago a new water main was installed in front of my house. When it was finished the workmen explained to me that it had to be tested. Their procedure was to pump the line full of water and increase the pressure to four times more than the maximum pressure the line was normally expected to endure. They would leave it under the pressure for one hour, checking to see if there were any faults.
Testing can be tough. Sometimes we even crack under pressure. But knowing God’s purpose is what brings joy.
James says the testing of our faith develops perseverance. And perseverance has a reward-“that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Finally the puzzle fits together. We can face out difficulties with joy because with them we are going to gain valuable resources to better serve God.
So we are not being told to somehow ignore the pain of trails. We are not instructed to put up a false front, show a big smile and never let anyone see we are hurting. Instead we are told to remember the pain is there for a reason; God is going to bring blessing and reward at the other end. Consequently we should consider it pure joy when we are faces with problems.
Examples of God’s Joy
God knows that remembering all of this in the midst of problems can be difficult. That is why in verse 5 He promises us wisdom-wisdom to know there will be benefit from our pain and suffering. Wisdom to know we serve a God who is in control of the events in our lives. Wisdom to remember our God loves us and protects us as the “apple of His eye.”
We know that problems do not go away when we walk with the Lord. As we serve Him our problems may even intensify. That is because God loves us and wants to teach us. He wants to help us grow and to be more effective in our efforts for Him. The trails will come. But we can face them with joy!