1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
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.
Sometimes you read a passage of scripture and you just want to say, “Yeah, whatever!” Yeah, this is one of those passages for many people. This is one of those passages for those who are in the middle of a difficult time in their life. James says, “Consider it pure joy when you face trials and troubles.” Ok! Let’s see what the heck he’s talking about.
MANY PEOPLE CONFUSE HAPPINESS AND JOY.
hap-pi-ness \‘ha-pē-nəs\ a feeling that comes and goes, an emotion that is dependent upon our personal circumstances.
joy \’jȯi\ a fruit of the Spirit that is not based upon our circumstances, but upon our faith in Jesus Christ.
You can be unhappy and joyful at the same time. Happiness is wishy-washy. Joy is deep-rooted. This is why people can go through hell on earth and still say, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” It doesn’t make sense, but I’m not so sure it’s supposed to.
James is talking about JOY, not happiness.
James isn’t saying, “Be happy when you face troubling times.” He is not saying, “Turn that frown upside down when life gets hard.” No!
JOY IS NOT NATURAL, IT’S SPIRITUAL.
James says to consider these moments a pure joy, because he realizes the end result will be worth the difficulty of getting there. The middle road may be extremely difficult, but the end will bring,
NOTE TO SELF: this is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve when you are in the middle of a hardship, because we are unable to see the end result (this is the blessing of hindsight). When life is hard, real hard, it’s hard to see how it will all turn out.
When my mom found out she had cancer, I sent her this verse. The reason I sent it to her was because I was already praying for the end result. Obviously, chemotherapy stinks, surgery stinks, radiation stinks, more chemotherapy stinks, but what matters is the end, not the middle. In fact, my mom’s faith has grown during this time. THIS ISN’T THE REASON SHE HAS CANCER, BUT IT’S HER RESPONSE TO HER CANCER.
She is going to allow God to be glorified through everything!
If you have gone through a difficult time, and I’m sure you have, I pray that you came out the other end more passionate about your faith. I hope you were strengthened as you went through your valley. If you are more faithful today as a result of a difficult time in your life, consider that a PURE JOY.
Maybe you are going through hell right now. I know you cannot see the end. Right now you’re not even sure there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My hope and prayer for you is to hold on. I want you to know that you are not alone. Jesus is walking with you every step of the way.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part: I AM WALKING WITH YOU TOO!
I love you and I am here for you!
Grace & Peace, Marc