“2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV
When I first read the words “pure joy,” they leaped off the page. Joy is something I want in my life, and it’s something I want to be known by. It is something I want to feel. But in this context, “pure joy” is right in the middle of trials. When I think of joy, I think of a peaceful, happy life with no conflict and tons of smiles everywhere. But that is not what James describes here. James wants us to understand that our joy is not attached to our circumstances. When we go through trials, we are so tempted to get discouraged and feel sorrow. While there definitely is a time to mourn, we can’t set up camp in our negative feelings.
I like how he uses the word “consider” it pure joy. To consider is to think about something critically. James is saying that if we want to feel “pure joy,” we have to stop and look at the big picture. The trials we face bring us closer to God. And we know that God is the source of our peace. Trusting His plan for our life means enduring through all of the hard things that come our way.
My encouragement to you today is that you would stop in the middle of your trial and consider it joy. You don’t have to wait for things to change to feel joy. See the growth God is bringing to your faith and look at how good He is even in the midst of the worst things imaginable.
Lord, we thank You for always being with us. We know You never leave nor forsake us, and that You are for those who love You. We ask that in the middle of our messes You would speak to us. Help us to experience Your joy and peace when life gets tough. We know that this testing will produce perseverance; we just need Your help to get through the test. We love You and trust Your plan for our life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.