Have I ever mentioned that I love the book of James? Well, I do.
In fact, a few of my favorite verses, which I’ve mentioned in several previous posts, are ones that are quoted often:
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. James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Even though I typically read and study from the ESV, I LOVE the way NIV tells us in verse 2 to “consider it PURE joy.”
Wait. Trials are “pure joys”? Really? You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t that a bit extreme?”
To me, “count it ALL joy,” means counting every single one of your trials–ALL of them–as joys. And “considering it pure joy” means your trials are totally, completely, unequivocally a JOY to face. Each trial is a joy, and each joy isn’t just some silly little sprinkling of joy…it’s an unmistakable heaping of PURE joy.
Do I sound crazy yet? I’m not, I swear…
Sometimes when we face hardships, we fail to understand why. We think we don’t deserve it. We think we’re pretty good people and that we should have an easy life because we’re Christians and we love God. So why do trials come?
James makes it clear. God allows our faith to be tested so that it may become stronger. And, after we’ve remained steadfast under our trials (aka: when we never lose faith in God despite the hard stuff), we’ll receive the “crown of life.” We’ll make it to heaven, where there will be no more trials. (See my previous post for more on that.) Don’t you think that reward is worth the pain?!
Try considering it it ALL a PURE joy today, no matter what you’re facing. Mandisa does a great job of putting tough times into perspective in her song “Stronger”:
When the waves are taking you under, hold on just a little bit longer, He knows that this is gonna make you stronger.