Consider it pure joy, my brothers [and sisters], 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, NIV*
I’ve read these verses over the years and always thought the “pure joy” at trials was for a level of spirituality I hadn’t yet reached. The Apostle James could do it, and probably folks like Billy Graham and Mother Theresa, but not me, not yet. Then I noticed something new: there’s no period after “trials of many kinds” – there’s a comma, an explanation.
James isn’t saying “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials.” He calls us to consider it joy because behind the trial is a test of faith. And it isn’t the pass/fail kind of test to disqualify us. It’s the kind of test that proves our faith is real and strong. It’s the kind of test that will strengthen and develop us.
So… we can consider it pure joy to see that God is using the circumstances of our current trials to prove the strength of the faith He has given us, and to develop perseverance within us. He’s completing the work He begun in us, and in that we can be joyful.
Father, You are so good to us. Thank You that nothing comes to Your children without being filtered through Your fingers. Thank You that what the enemy of our souls means for harm, You can work to good. Please strengthen our faith, help us trust You, grow us in perseverance. Because of Jesus. Amen.