Do you have a serious problem? Is there a difficult circumstance in your life that is causing you to lose sleep? If so, take a moment to smile and be glad about it. Okay, so you think that’s weird. Well, take a look at this:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
I just said, “smile and be glad”! God says to “consider it pure joy”!!!!
Over the years and many trials of many kinds, I’ve realized that the “worry myself sick” approach or the “if I would have…,” beat myself up approach are both fruitless. Actually, the word “torture” best describes them. On the other hand, I have found that asking “why” can be beneficial to a certain degree, usually to learn from a mistake. But to stay in the “whys,” spending hours thinking and rethinking why you are experiencing this trial can also waste precious time and be, well, more torture. Besides, a good portion of our trials are due to the fact that we are in a spiritual battle and we have an Adversary who wants to see a big “L” looming over us, “L for Loser”!
Here’s a thought. If you’re the analyzing type (or even if you’re not), think about why we should “count it pure joy.” In 2 Corinthians 12:10a, Paul said: “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties….” By the way, do any of those words describe your problem? It’s obvious that there is a reason why we should and can “delight” or “consider it pure joy” when we face a trial.
So let’s start in James 1:3, which begins with the word that usually starts off the answer for all “why” questions: “because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” The next verse tells us why it is so important to persevere during a trial: “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Surely you do not want to be immature, incomplete, and always lacking something, so consider it pure joy when you face difficult circumstances, because persevering through them is causing you to become the person you truly want to be! Perseverance, doing what is right even when it’s hard, produces character (Rom. 5:3 and 4.) Every person of great character persevered! The opposite of perseverance is to give in and well, sin (lie, cheat, rage, slander, stay bitter, sulk… I could go on and on!).
The next verse is extremely helpful.
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.
Trials come in many shapes and sizes, and wisdom is a key ingredient for standing strong in your tribulation. Much of what we are to do during a trial is clearly written in the pages of God’s Word. Sometimes, though, we need specific instructions, so ask God, and He will tell you “without finding fault,” even if our foolishness got us in the predicament we are in! Isn’t that wonderful?
There is another reason to delight while in a trial.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Who would not want to see Jesus Christ help them take care of their problem? Our Lord’s grace is sufficient for us, no matter how difficult our situation is. His help is always enough to get us through. The best part is watching him do it!
A couple of years ago I started a journal called, “Grace Abounds,” which is a record of events that took place because of God’s grace, such as answers to prayers and the unusual ways they came to pass. Besides delighting in seeing what He does in circumstances that I am powerless to make right, I love recording the praise report! As I write, I usually notice even more details that could have been only through divine intervention. This has helped me “…boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses….” Now when a challenge comes my way, I think about the joy I will have recording how the grace of my Lord got me through.
So when difficulties come your way, smile, be glad, count it pure joy, and be determined to persevere, to do what’s right. Remember you are not alone, for Jesus Christ’s power is available to you. Ask for help; his grace is sufficient to get you through. You can rejoice because as you persevere, you are preparing for a great praise report