My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
There are certain words you never think of putting together, like “trials and joy.” When we are in the middle of a challenge, “joy” isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind. More likely, it’s aggravation and anger until we get through the challenge, then relief once it’s over. I’m guessing joy wasn’t usually in our vocabulary at that time.
However, the idea of facing our trials with joy is so vitally important to James that he barely pauses to say hello in verse 1. In this letter, he invites us to adopt a new mindset. Our tribulations are not something we need to fear and dread but welcome with courage and confidence. We face our trials with joy because they serve a purpose. God permits them because they offer an opportunity for us to grow in our faith. Through them, we learn to recognize his closeness with us amid adversity.
God who walks with us, thank you for being there amidst our troubles. Whatever may be going on now, whatever is to come, help us to be joyful and view these trials as an opportunity to grow in our relationship with you. We know you will never leave us nor forsake us, nor will we lack for anything. Amen.