Anyone else experiencing some hard times right now? Anyone else had one of those days where you thought, “if one more thing happens I’m going to lose it” then all of a sudden, one more thing has happened? On top of all the ‘regular’ struggles – finances, broken relationships, health crisis, raising children (no matter what age they are) we now have a pandemic to deal with! We are all currently in a time when every single one of us is facing uncertainties and trials in some way. Our days are hard right now and during times like this, it is easy to get overwhelmed, anxious, worried and possibly even begin to feel hopeless. BUT GOD has a different answer for us!
James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion. Greetings.
Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
James is preaching during a time when the first Christians were being persecuted and many were feeling overwhelmed, anxious, worried, afraid — some of the same feelings we are having now and some were even ready to abandon their faith. God gives James a clear message for the church and this message is exactly what we need to hold tight to today.
To begin with “consider it a great joy” – not just joy but GREAT JOY – when we experience trials – these hard times we are in right now! Joy is not a fleeting feel good moment – it’s not happiness – it’s a deep in the soul feeling of calmness – of knowing everything is going to be okay and it can only come from the Holy Spirit.
Trials are not normally what the world rejoices over! But we see right here in this passage that is exactly what God expects us to do – be joyous when we experience trials.This does not mean we are to be all excited because we are facing such heartache. Instead, we can have joy when we look at these trials we are currently in, knowing even though our faith may be tested, we will endure.
Right now, there are decisions being made that impact all of us – from what schools look like, to workplaces, our churches, even whether or not it’s safe to visit loved ones. I know that it is impossible to make decisions that everyone is going to agree with. But I do know that no matter what decision is made — go to school, digital instruction, come back to church, keep watching online, have children’s ministry, open businesses back up, close businesses back down – no matter what – we can seek God and ask Him for wisdom in making these decisions and as long as we are persistently seeking His guidance, He will give us the wisdom we need – generously and without criticizing! This wisdom will turn our fears and anxiousness to a deep soul level calmness because we can trust in the faithfulness of our BIG GOD knowing He WILL carry us through these very hard days. As we persevere and endure, God will give us the wisdom to navigate this crazy storm we are all facing and we can do so with joy deep in our hearts!