Have you ever lost a document? Or maybe even ALL your work on your computer? I have, too.
And I just know your first reaction was joy. Right?
Well, mine wasn’t. Sorry to say!
Trials are never fun. When we find ourselves in the middle of a trial, we don’t pray and ask God for more. We pray and pray to be delivered. For God to, “Make it stop! Please!”
But here in James chapter 1, we hear God tell us, rather, to rejoice! To count it all joy.
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My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; James 1:2
Count it all joy?
My first question to this command is, “WHY?”
Joy is not my first reaction to pain, to hurt, whether physical or emotional. Joy is not my first reaction to mean spirited treatment from co-workers or to rebellion from children or to an unexpected job loss.
My first reaction to a tragic diagnosis from a doctor or to the loss of a child, parent, or spouse would certainly not be joy.
How about you?
However, the command still stands. “Count it all joy.”
Why? Why does God give this command?
Sometimes it is easier for me to obey a command when I have an idea of the purpose for it. God does not owe us any explanations whatsoever. EVER. However, He does choose to give us His reason for this command.
The answer—Because God has a plan…a purpose for the trials of our faith. And it is a good plan, a good purpose—because God is good! You may have heard the saying—
And it is so true. However, I think it is the “all the time” part of this saying that we are tempted to waver on at times. But don’t lose faith.
Just remember and believe that—
God’s plans for us are for our good and for our blessing.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
God’s commands are for our good always.
And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. Deuteronomy 6:24
So what is God’s plan for my suffering and trials? Why does God command us to count it all joy, even the heartaches and pains of life? Because God is working in our life to perfect, or mature, us in the faith.
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:3-4
We can rejoice knowing that our pain is not in vain. It is serving a greater purpose, and God will turn it around for our good and for the good of all those that love God. (Rom 8:28)
But…in His time!
Each trial, each heartache, each perplexity is used of God to grow our faith in Him until we reach maturity in Him. Until we reach the place of confident, “nothing-wavering” faith in our God. This is God’s goal for us—for our good.
Why is this so important? How is this for my good? What are the benefits of this kind of faith?
God’s wisdom for the asking! (v.5)
answered prayers! (v.5-8)
joy! in the midst of circumstances we wouldn’t have chosen
This kind of faith, confident and mature, produces the abundant life Jesus desires for all of us—life lived in Him. Life lived in His joy.
Life lived ABOVE our circumstances!
But…How? How can I obey this command?
My next question when I read, “Count it all joy,” is HOW? How does a person who has just lost a loved one, or has been a victim of crime, “Count it all joy”? How can anyone have this joy and abundant life no matter their circumstances?
Through God. By faith.
Choosing to…and determining to…trust God. To trust in God’s love for you, even though you cannot understand the why of what’s happening to you or around you.
Trusting that God’s grace will be sufficient to see you through.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
The kind of faith that can trust even during the loss of a loved one doesn’t just happen. It grows over time as we victoriously trust God through the day to day trials of our faith.
So how do we survive this life and count it all joy?
No. Matter. What.
Faith in this truth—
As for God, his way is perfect. Psalm 18:30a
Faith in this promise—
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
If you are hurting today, let me encourage you to remember that God loves you. Draw nigh to your God. Love Him and trust Him. He is working His plan in your life, His plan for your good.
As you trust Him now, He will give you His joy and peace…even in the midst of your trial.
Drawing nigh to Him,
This post is part of our James Bible Study.
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.
Is your faith being tried today? Are you clinging to God’s promises? Which ones?
Has there been a time in your life when your faith was tested and you were able to remain joyful? How did you do it?