Find a Reason for Joy

The life of faith, it seems to me, is like a long journey. We may take different paths, but we all have one thing in common. No matter the trails, we will all still face our own trials. James begins his letter about faith by saying, “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). So it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” The trials of life are unavoidable, universal and inevitable. 

I would add to that a couple of things: First, those trials are personalized. Trials are as individual as mailing addresses or fingerprints. What may test one person’s life may not touch another one’s life. God asked only Abraham to sacrifice a son, not Joseph or Moses. Jesus asked only the rich young ruler to sell everything, not Nicodemus. The Lord seems to have trials personally matched to test the faith of each person. Secondly, life’s trials seem, at times, to be synchronized. This is to say that they don’t always show up alone. William Shakespeare said, “They come synchronized, not as single spies, but in battalions.” They come in company at times. Yeah, I hate to tell you but I’ve seen them come in pairs and triples many times. Never be surprised when troubles are synchronized.

So trials will come and this is how they may come. But how do you usually respond when they do come? It’s the most natural thing in the world to respond with the three most often asked questions:

* Why me? (As though this is somehow unfair)

* Why now? (As though this is somewhat untimely)

* Why this? (As though this is in some way unique)

You will likely not get good answers to these questions and, even if you do, how does it help you? Not at all!

Instead, James suggests here we should consider (serious ponder) why there is some reason for joy (v. 2). Faith’s response to any problem is, “What reason can I find to rejoice in this trouble?” The assurance of faith is that God is indeed up to something positive in the midst of this trouble. You find it and you will find a reason for joy!

You may be thinking, “But I can’t always see it!” True, and that is why we are told to PRAY FOR WISDOM: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

James says pray for wisdom not only so that you may know how to get through this trying situation but also that you can see how God will use this to produce something positive in you as He continues His work of molding you! All of this is ultimately for the glory of God! You may not see it now but one day you will see it better! Until then, and through it all, learn to trust Him—and He will show you reasons for joy!

Blessings,

Pastor Ron

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