There are a great many things that I would like to write here just now, but it is not possible yet.
At the moment this verse is very much in my thoughts.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
My life has, and it is the same for many folk, been full of ups and downs. A lot of folk blame God for what happens to them, I have learnt that it is usually my own poor decision making that leads me into trouble and it is God who sorts me out; and so it shall be this time.
I first heard this verse preached about in 1980. An experienced missionary who had been through some extraordinary ordeals in his life as a surgeon shared his experiences with a small congregation of which I was a member. He was a colourful character who banged on the lectern as he said “Consider it pure joy!”.
I could not grasp then how I could be joyful under trial, but James isn’t asking us to “feel” joy. As Beth Moore puts in in her study of James:
“ consider- “make the choice” to think or reflect on the potential joy from growth and weathering the storm and the good that IS available to us whenever we experience trials of many kinds. It’s not about feeling good about it, but about making a choice about how you’re going to handle the hardship.”
We have the freedom to make a decision will it be joy or complaining? Will it be sulking because we cannot have our own way? Blaming God and wondering if we can carry on believing?
We can either sit in a corner and become part of the problem or we can get up stand our ground and put on our armour from Ephesians 6.
I once read that that if you feel that you are in the middle of a battle and the arrows are coming thick and fast and you have come to a stand still, get out your bat and whack them away!