Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2
Regina drove home from work discouraged and tired. The day had started with tragic news in a text message from a friend, then spiraled downward in meetings with co-workers who refused to work with any of her ideas. As Regina was talking to the Lord, she thought it best to put the stress of the day aside and made a surprise visit with flowers to an elderly friend at a care center. Her spirits lifted as Maria shared how good the Lord was to her. She said, "I have my own bed and a chair, three meals a day, and help from the nurses here. And occasionally God sends a cardinal to my window just because He knows I love them and He loves me."
Attitude. Perspective. As the saying goes, “Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it.” The people James wrote to were scattered because of persecution, and he asked them to consider their perspective about difficulties. He challenged them with these words: “Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2).
We are each on our own journey of learning to trust God with hard circumstances. The kind of joy-filled perspective James talked about comes as we learn to see that God can use struggles to produce maturity in our faith.
Lord, please change my attitude about hard times. Bring about joy, perseverance, and maturity in me.
God can bring times of growth out of our times of heartache.
When James says, “Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position” (1:9), he reflects the paradox of Jesus’s words in the Beatitudes. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” said Jesus, describing those who are spiritually humble, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
No one wants to suffer, but without testing, there is no perseverance. And without perseverance, there is no spiritual growth and the eternal reward that comes with it.
How might you choose to respond when you find yourself in humble or difficult circumstances?