Tough things are going to happen in life. How do you handle them? If you’re like me, you get stressed out, complain to other people, cry, and forget to turn to God until you’re completely worn out and broken down. You may handle it differently than that. But do you handle it like the Bible says we should?
James said that we should “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Now, I don’t know about you, but joy isn’t usually my first response to struggles. Sometimes it’s sorrow. Sometimes it’s anger. Sometimes it’s simply defeat. But joy–that would be unusual. And yet, that is the response God’s Word encourages me to have.
How can we have joy when we’re struggling? It seems like an impossible request. But James goes on to explain the reason for our joy. Check out those verses again. James says that we should have joy because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. In other words, when our faith is tested, it ultimately helps us become more faithful.
Think about times in your life when you’ve gone through a big struggle. Afterward, did you ever think, “Hey–I see what God did through that pain”? I have. I have seen God work through really painful times in my life. Now, at the time I didn’t think He was working. I wasn’t sure at all what He was doing. But now that the struggle is over, I can look back and say that yes, God did indeed grow my faith during that painful time.
That’s why James says we should have joy even in suffering. Not because our situation is a great one, but because we can trust that God will use this bad time to produce something good in us. I believe that the joy we have in suffering is found in trusting that God will one day let this end, and that that end will be good. It’s not easy–never easy. But we do have a hope to look. And that’s something to find peace in.