“Consider it pure joy. . .whenever you face trials of many kinds” ~James 1:2
“James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
Matthew 5:11-12 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.”
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
1 Peter 1:6-7 “Though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith, of greater worth than gold. . .may be proved genuine.”
1 Peter 4:12-19 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ.”
Romans 5:3-5 “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
When I was young and foolish…ok, stubborn and self-serving too, I often suffered for my choices. Typically, when caught, I cajoled and moaned, smiled or cried, and begged for mercy. Most often, mercy was in short supply. But behind it all, I knew I deserved whatever punishment came my way.
After accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, of all the differences I may have anticipated, suffering for my faith was certainly not one. Suffering for doing wrong is expected but suffering for doing right? And then considering those sufferings as light and momentary? Can I be stretched that far? Won’t I explode? But Lord, aren’t you satisfied with my expressions of faith and times of prayer and reading your Word?
And then I began to see that accepting trials and tribulations as an element of faith, I was simply following in the footsteps of Christ. He suffered for me and now I can imitate Him. And, oh yes, no complaining please. Count it all joy! Yes, enduring is not good enough, we must learn to count it as joy. Yea!
By the way, He knows we will have worlds of trouble accepting sufferings joyfully, that’s where His mercy and grace come into play. He loves us that much.