James 1:2-4 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.
Count trials as joy.
From headache to heartbreak, this world seems to throw endless sorrow in the direction of God’s children, and if it doesn’t, you are considered unique. America is unique, and a privilege, on which we should never wish away but one we should understand. And even though we live in a country with unmerited freedom and blessing, trials still find a way to sit themselves at the table. Whether it’s the diagnosis, the divorce, the loneliness, the death, or the long wait, no matter how big the barrier we build between our heart and pain, we can’t seem to escape it. You will never see a verse in scripture saying “blessed is the man who can buy all he needs, who’s stomach is full, whose health scans came back clear, and whose job doesn’t feel like work” no, instead we see “blessed is the meek, the lowly, the poor in spirit, etc.” (Matthew 5) The Christian life is never void of trial, but it’s also never void of joy and peace.
Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
We can have Joy in trial because WE KNOW that the testing of our faith produces STEADFASTNESS. Steadfastness (or patience/endurance) may not grab our attention as much as faith, hope, and love do, but it is one of the greatest callings and promises of the Christian life. By it, we bear our burdens, lift our eyes toward heaven, and press on to eternal life.
Steadfastness as our calling. Just a little later in James 1 we see a call to be steadfast. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 - We are called to be steadfast and endure life trials, looking on to the future glory that is to come. Our call to steadfastness produces the greatest outcome of all-eternal life.
Joy in trial produces steadfastness.
Steadfastness as our promise. We are not only called too steadfastness, we are also provided with it. Patience is something we work towards, but it’s also something that is often times given to us. When we approach our trials with joy, patience is produced, for God allows us to experience trials so that we may receive patience and be perfect and complete in him.
If we truly know that testing produces steadfastness, we will gain the strength to endure our suffering and the ability to see our present pain preparing us for our future glory — and find ourselves counting even trials as joy. Begin to look at suffering with a lens of Joy, looking on what it can produce in you, not merely on what it is taking from you.