Mountain ranges capped with snow. A newborn baby. Laughing until tears come and your belly aches. These images pop into my mind when someone mentions pure joy.
James, however, presents a starkly different picture. He tells us to regard life’s trials as pure joy. Why would he do that? He understood what real faith looks like in our actual lives. Believing in Jesus for salvation and asking Him to be Lord of our lives doesn’t make all our struggles and problems disappear. In this world of sin, tornadoes still strike, friends still betray, and loved ones still die.
As Jesus followers, we consider trials pure joy because comfort on earth isn’t our goal. Instead, we seek a personal and eternal relationship with the Maker of the universe. James tells us that trials, which test our faith in God, produce perseverance in our lives. He explains that only through perseverance can we mature in our relationship with Christ.
Trouble actually helps us get to know Jesus. Our need turns us to God and allows us to experience His provision, His power, and His love. So, we can view our difficulties with genuine joy because hardships cause us to run into God’s everlasting arms. Internationally known preacher, J. D. Greear, put it this way: “Dependence on God is our objective, therefore weakness becomes our advantage.” Only knowing Jesus can bring real and lasting joy.
Almighty God, I don’t want to merely seek earthly comfort. I want you. Let the difficulties in my life show me how to depend on you, so that I can discover real joy. Amen.
Go Deeper — Stop trying to just “be happy” in the midst of your trials. Run to Jesus today with all your troubles. Pour out your heart to Him. Ask for His wisdom and His perseverance to fill your life. Discover pure joy in relationship with Jesus.
Learn more about turning difficulties into joy. Read Trusting God Through the Seasons of Life.
Photo Credit: Mi Pham