My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 NKJV
I don’t know about you, my friend, but joy is not the thing I experience when I go through trials. Oh no, I can think of many other emotions: frustration, anger, sadness, depression, a sense of defeat … I want nothing more than to fast-forward to the next scene of my life where hopefully I will be thriving after having learned the lesson that God wanted to reveal to me.
Why Do We Have Trials?
So how do we find joy in our trials? I think we first need to understand the why – why do we experience difficulties in the first place?
Jesus told us in John 16:33 that in this world we will have tribulation. It’s not optional.
As much as we would wish it weren’t true: trials increase our faith and test our patience. If you don’t want to have your faith tested don’t pray and ask God for more patience!
What we have to remember is that ultimately God is concerned with saving our souls. This happens through the process of sanctification. Jehovah is constantly putting us in situations that will train us to become more like his son Jesus.
How Do We Find Joy in Trouble?
Okay, so James is not telling us that we should laugh hilariously every time something bad happens (and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to spent time in a mental institution). No, what James is trying to tell us is that we need to be aware of the reason we have trials and learn to find what is good in the situation.
When you are tempted to lament and complain, ask yourself:
- What can I learn about God in this season of my life?
- What’s the lesson that God wants me to learn?
- What’s the blessing?
- How can I use what I have learned in this season to bless someone else?
Once we start the practice of asking these questions, we will begin to appreciate that we serve a God who wants to save us. And the only way he can do that is if we begin to take on the character of God. In Leviticus 19:2 we are told “Be holy because [God] am holy.”
How do you find joy in tribulation?