2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12 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 1:2-12 ESV)
“All of God’s children have their share of sunshine & storm.” ~ Anonymous
The thought that everyone goes through trials in this life, that everyone at some point will suffer, causes me to pause and think about how we approach this season. I know in my own life, the first thing I usually exclaim, like a little child, is “No…” “ No, this can’t be happening to me…” “No, God take this away…” “No, why does this have to be so hard…” “No, God, tell me what to do….”
As a believer in Jesus, one who claims to follow Him, I sadly must admit that in these times I forget the joy that is set before me – JESUS (vs. 2). My precious Jesus who has gone before me has suffered on my behalf. He became a curse for me. He gave His life for me so that I may have life (John 10:10).
What if instead of forgetting, my response looked a little different? What if I chose to hear the call of James to maturity and respond with counting it all joy when I meet trials of various kinds? What would this look like?
Could I respond by turning my focus immediately to Christ (Who is my joy)?
Joy can be defined as: the emotion evoked by the prospect of possessing what one desires.
What is my desire?
- Is it Christ?
- Is it to give Him glory?
- Is it to enjoy Him?
- Is it to rest within His grace and mercy?
- Do I trust Christ?
- Do I trust that He is all-sufficient for me?
- That His grace is enough?
So then, what could propel me into this position of counting it all joy when life is dark and scary?
What If I prayed for wisdom? Not the asking of “Lord show me what to do?” – but “Lord, give me the discernment to do that which is right.”
Wisdom is not knowledge.
(1) Biblical wisdom refers to practical skills associated with understanding and living a successful life.
Did you know that He gives Wisdom? This wonderful Wisdom that walks us through the darkest of path; illuminating the way through.
We would have to trust Christ in this, wouldn’t we? For He is the Giver of good gifts and if all my works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), then how can I practically apply anything on my own and do good throughout a season of suffering.
So then, I find myself asking:”Am I a single-minded person?” Or… “Do I find myself being tossed around like the wave of the sea; like a double-minded person?” (vs.8)
Do I trust Christ or myself? Am I steadfast in that trust; especially in seasons where the heat is turned up in my life?
How can we ask for wisdom and then fall back into the self-reliant thinking? How can I claim to trust Christ and then act like I must run away from the trial that so deeply entangles me?
That’s the thing, there is nowhere to run to.
Wait for it… My favourite turn phrase…
But God provides a way through… Praise the Lord!
If we are in Christ, we are able to trust and walk in the wisdom He so generously gives without reproach.
Repent… turn from trusting in yourself and trust in Christ. Be Steadfast in that trusting.
Let us take up our trial in faith that the One who bore a crown of thorns on our behalf, will also give us then the crown of life in due time.
Endure the trial that is set before you, my friend. Set your eyes on Christ. Trust. Hope. Persevere.