Can This Be "Joy"?

William C. Brownson

READ : James 1:1-4

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy . . . . (v. 2)

Sometimes trials come in bunches, don’t they? They assail you like the robbers who beat up that traveler on the Jericho road. Some of you know what that’s like. It feels as if you’re on the beach in a storm tide. One wave after another smashes you down in the sand. You struggle up, only to be battered by another.

James, this wisely practical disciple of Jesus, says an amazing thing about these multiple trials. “Count them all joy!” What? Did we hear him right? Not just “bear them bravely” or “keep getting up,” but (can you believe it?) celebrate them!

“Wait a minute, James. Are you trying to tell us to deny our feelings? To put on a happy face when we’re crushed?” No, James is a realist. He knows how painful and heart-breaking life can be.

But James knows something else too. He knows what God can do in us through times of buffeting. He has seen sufferers learn endurance and develop character. He has watched them become more like Jesus. So he doesn’t say “Enjoy trials.” No one can do that. He says “count them all joy.” See them that way. Receive them as from God’s hand, as love-gifts to enrich your life.

PRAYER

Hallelujah, Lord! Thank you for every trial that brings us nearer to you.