Trials, Consider Them Joy
Lord, how is it possible?”
Our ladies Bible study began a study of the book of James. Before we
had gotten very far in our studies we found ourselves asking this very
question. After all, we had just gone through a very difficult
weekend. Not only had we attended a memorial service for Van Wisdom,
but later we learned that our pastor would be stepping down as the
leader of our church.
The following Monday morning our Bible study met and read this verse:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many
kinds.” James 1:2
After discussing the difficult weekend, many ladies added their own
stories of personal trials. We agreed that yes, we all faced trials of
many kinds. The question was not WHY we face trials, but how do you
have pure joy in those trials? We had a brief discussion about
happiness vs. joy, and many questions were raised. Are happiness and
joy the same thing? Can you have joy when you are unhappy?
To say the least we had lots of questions on this subject. And, like
all good Bible studies, we got to work looking for the answers to our
many questions. We gathered our resources and began our search in the
American Heritage Dictionary. To our great surprise, we found what we
believed to be very helpful definitions of both joy and happiness.
Joy: To take great pleasure. To rejoice; to have religious fear or
awe. Happiness: Characterized by good luck, fortunate.
Knowing the Bible is our real place for answers, we began to earnestly
seek God’s truth on the subject. Our searches led us to these verses:
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are
suffering... But rejoice that your participate in the sufferings of
Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. So
then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit
themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter
4:12 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him,
and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him
in song.” Ps. 28:7 “The sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of
bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thanks
offerings to the house of the Lord saying, ‘Give thanks to the Lord
Almighty, for the Lord is good; His love endures forever.’ For I will
restore the fortunes of the land as they were before, says the Lord.”
Jer. 33:11 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal
glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself
restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10 As
these scriptures were read, we discovered some important truths.
1. We should not be surprised when trials come.
2. When we suffer, we participate in the sufferings of Christ . God
will help sustain us when we don’t feel like rejoicing.
3. We are called to give thanks in all circumstances, even when we
don’t feel like it.
Softly, someone read this scripture: “My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all
the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest
on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 “That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight
in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in
difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:10
As all of the ladies listened, the answers to our questions became
clear. Joy is more than happiness and has nothing to do with luck or
fortune. Joy is the peace that passes all human understanding. It is
possible in the midst of the greatest pain you will ever know, and
comes only from our dependence upon and relationship with Jesus
Christ. In our humanness, we are unable to have joy and peace when it
seems everything around us is caving in. It is only through Him and
His strength that we are able to have hope, peace, comfort and joy.
My prayer is that wherever God finds you, in whatever trial you face,
you will seek joy through Him. Words cannot fully comfort, nor can
they console. The comfort the heart knows is found only in the
Creator, the One who promises to be strong in our weakness. This
comfort comes form the One who promises to “never leave you nor
forsake you.” It comes because of who He is and by His grace.
Dear brothers and sisters, I pray that God’s grace and mercies will be
fresh in you this day and forever as you consider it pure joy when you
face trials of many kinds.