Consider the hard times as joy? How could James say that?

The Letter of James has been my favorite book of the Bible for many years because of all the practical wisdom it packs into just a few chapters. But when I recently reread James 1:2 — “consider it pure joy… whenever you face trials” — I blanched. He just didn’t know what I was going through, I decided. A year of intense physical health problems, coupled with anxiety and depression, had really worn me down. I no longer had any interest in enduring — I just wanted to give up.

Perhaps you feel the same way. Everyone is going to have trials in life — that’s a given since we live in a sinful and broken world. But James also gives us a beautiful promise: if we persevere through those hard times, we can be “mature and complete, not lacking anything.” That sounds good, right? I want that!

The key lies in how we react to difficult times. Do we moan and complain and want to give up? Do we refuse to push through hard times to see what they will teach us? (I know I’ve been there.) Or, do we put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and cling close to Him when our faith is tested? Do we endure through the trial, with His strength, so that we can be made mature and complete?

We will only discover pure joy in the middle of our hardship if we learn to trust. God promises to be faithful to us, but we need to also be faithful to Him. When I am going through a hard season, I can’t stress how important it is for me to stay in the Word, pray, and listen to worship music many times a day. These things help me endure through the trials of life, learn from them, and, yes — even find joy in them.

Lord, give me the strength to endure. When hard times come my way, help me to look to You for perseverance and joy. Make me mature and complete through these trials. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Go Deeper ― Don’t be shy about telling a friend that you need prayer. Send them James 1:2-4, and ask them to pray endurance over you. It helps immensely for someone to remind you that in Him, you are strong enough to endure.

For more on finding joy, consider reading this article by our veteran author Gail Rodgers: Rejoicing: A Supernatural Tool.

Tags: Endurance James 1