James is one of my favorite books in the New Testament. I find it contains a lot of straight-forward, easy to understand, practical advice, but I always do a double-take when I read the words, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)
Why does James tell us to consider it joy when we face trials?
I don’t know about you, but I never look forward to trials. Trials are difficult. They’re tiring. I try to make choices and live in such a way to avoid trials. When I am in a trial, I do what I can to get out of the trial as quickly as I can. Joy is not a typical thought I have when I’m in a trial.
James tells us why we should consider it joy when we face a trial in the next few verses: “Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:3-4)
Our trials will yield a result – a beneficial result. James is encouraging us to look beyond the circumstances of the trial and focus on the fruit that can be grown in our lives through the trial. He is calling us to confidently hope and fully anticipate God’s faithfulness to us, even in the midst of our trials.
We may never look forward trials, but we can choose to heed these words from James and grasp the promise they give to us.