An opportunity for joy
Friday, March 18, 2022
When you’re going through tough times, you have an opportunity to be joyful.
Does that sound like an oxymoron? James, the half-brother of Jesus, became a devoted follower after a post-resurrection visit. He was later martyred in Jerusalem by being thrown off a building. When James didn’t die, he was beaten to death by his attackers. He prayed for them as he was being beaten.
In these verses, James tells us that troubles of any type should be considered a cause for joy. Why? Complaining and blaming difficulties on God produces bitterness and discouragement. Patiently waiting in faith for the troubles to end gives faith a chance to grow.
James isn’t saying we should sit back and enjoy hard times, nor is he saying that troubles produce happiness. What he is saying is that continuing in faith during difficulties encourages the growth of faith, perfecting us through trials.
The great 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon said it best: “I have looked back to times of trial with a kind of longing, not to have them return, but to feel the strength of God as I have felt it then, to feel the power of faith, as I have felt it then, to hang upon God’s powerful arm as I hung upon it then, and to see God at work as I saw him then.”
'Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. '