"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4
Trial. That is not a word that we like to hear; it is an experience that we would love to miss or get around quickly. However, it is a word, an experience, that we must be ready for in this life. James says to "consider it pure joy WHENEVER you face trials of MANY kinds." He doesn't say, "If you face trials." He says, "Whenever you face trials." Also, notice that it is "trials," not "trial." And notice that there are "many kinds" of trials. However, James tells us that trials should be considered with joy (remember joy is not happiness - two different things). He tells us that trials will develop perseverance. Paul tells us the same thing in Romans 5. Romans 5:3-5 says, "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Paul goes on to say in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." He says in Romans 8:31, "What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?" And he says in Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through him who loved us."
I don't know what kind of trial you are going through at this moment in your life. Maybe you are facing a health trial, a financial trial, a relational trial, a work trial, or a spiritual trial. Maybe you are facing several trials from several angles. But I do believe what James tells us in God's Word! I do believe what Paul tells us in God's Word. Trials should be considered with joy, because trials will produce perseverance that leads to character that leads to hope. Hope for the Christ follower is Jesus. The trial you are facing right now should lead you to Jesus; it should lead you to a maturity in your relationship with God; and that is a good thing! And remember, you don't have to face the trial alone! God loves you, and God is with you. You have brothers and sisters in Christ who love you and are with you, as well. Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Face your trials head-on, knowing that God will work things out for your good. Face your trials head-on, knowing that you have brothers and sisters standing with you. Face your trials head-on, knowing that the end result will be hope...hope is Jesus. Hope is the perfect, resurrected, life-giving and life-sustaining Jesus! The testing of your faith WILL happen. Will you be ready? Will you consider it pure joy? Will you grow in your faith? Will you finish with hope?