Read James 1:1-4
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. – James 1:3
It’s easy to be happy when you get a good report from your doctor. But have you ever gotten a bad report and reacted with genuine pleasure and gratitude? I can honestly say that I haven’t. When was the last time that you felt joyful over a troublesome event that occurred in your life? If you are at all like me, you probably can’t think of a single time when you reacted with joy in the face of pain.
James says that when we see trouble coming we ought to see it as an opportunity for great joy. Yes, great joy. (Yippee, my life just fell apart!) Ok, so no one ever feels that way and hey, you shouldn’t feel bad about that. It’s not natural to face a trial and be happy about it. Good feelings are a result of good things and bad feelings are a result of bad things. It is delusional to feel good when bad things happen to you. God doesn’t expect you to live in denial of your reality and He never commanded that you should.
James tells us to consider troubled times as an opportunity for great joy. In other words, when a bad thing happens you will likely feel bad, as you should, you can’t control that. But once a little time passes and you start to think about your new bad situation you can control how you think about it. “Consider” it an opportunity for great joy. James knew bad things make us feel bad. Being a Christian does not mean being immune to bad things or bad feelings or even bad thoughts (I know, scary right). What we can do is start to see every bad situation for what God can make of it.
When you face some trouble the result ought to be that you begin to pray about it and trust God with it. Taking your trial to God is an act of faith and faith grows the more you use it. The stronger your faith gets the more you will be able to endure. As your endurance grows stronger the next troublesome event will be a little less scary. The more we practice bringing our problems to Jesus the better we get at bringing our problems to Jesus (seems simple enough right). The goal here is change the way we think about our troubles, not to feel bad because we feel bad when bad things happen.
Pray: “Jesus, please help me to trust you with all the troubles I face.”