Joy in Trials?
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds because you now that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete and lack nothing."
Well now, that's a thought. Be joyful when you have trials. Sounds a little counterintuitive, but think about it with me for a moment.
Does this mean you have to be happy when life gets crappy? No. It doesn't.
Happiness and joy are not the same thing. At least I don't think they are. Happiness is an emotive response, were joy is more about a deep seated state of being. Joy goes beyond emotion because it is the ability to rest in the fact that God is good, and as a result, always be able to see the good in everything. To see beyond the trial.
I'm not necessarily happy when I face trials, but I try not to let it steal my joy. By God's grace, I can know that He is working something good from it - even in it (Rom. 8:28). Joy allows me to see the potential good and to rest in God's goodness through the trial.
See, trials are a temporary blip in our overall experience in life. And James says here that they actually help us. They work perseverance in our lives and help us to become both mature and complete. That essentially means that my life would not be complete if it weren't for the perseverance required for me to go through my trials. In all things, God works for my good because I love Him. It doesn't say everything will be good, or even that I'll feel good in everything, but I can know that He is working in every circumstance FOR my good! Even in my trials.
"Lord, help me to have joy even when I'm not happy about my circumstances...to not allow trial and difficulty to steal my joy, but to know that true joy comes from You. Thank you that you are working in my circumstances for my good so that through perseverance I can become mature and complete." Amen.