“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
“Consider it pure joy…” What? A pure joy? How can I consider this fear, this panic, this pain a pure joy? The battle is too strenuous. The nightmare too real. It seems the fear does nothing but tear down and destroy. Destroy my peace, my sleep, my desires, my dreams.
And it’s not just one trial, but “trials of many kinds.” Oh Lord, help me! Why so many trials?
“…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
If I wanted to teach my son how to swim, I could read to him the various techniques. I could teach him how to hold is breath. I could talk about the water, and how to stay afloat. We could even go down to the pool and watch people swim. But eventually, he would have to get into the water. In fact, the best situation would be to teach him while he was in the water. That’s where he would learn the fastest.
Many of us are “in the water” of fear. You can read and study and learn all day long about what you should do, but eventually you will need to get “in the water.” God builds our perseverance by daily testing our faith. That’s the only way he can teach us to trust him.
Prayer: Father, I admit that it is difficult for me to consider my trials a joy. However, I pray that this testing will strengthen me and build my faith so that I may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.