The Bible is full of paradox, a seemingly self-contradictory statement that, when investigated, proves to be well founded and true. Take the terms “joy” and “trials.” Joy is defined as “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Trials, as used here, is defined as “subjection to suffering or grievous experiences; a distressed or painful state.”
On the surface these two concepts seem to be opposites. Yet James opens his New Testament letter with the statement, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” We are to face suffering with an attitude of joy. How? Why? This certainly isn’t our natural instinct. We bristle at the thought of painful experiences. We avoid them when possible and pray for them to end when they cannot be avoided.
But James goes on to explain that if we take a long view we come to understand that those difficult times of life produce endurance and help to perfect our faith. He writes that those who persevere under trial are indeed blessed, because that perseverance leads to approval and the crown of life.
As we go through these times of trial and learn to lean on the Lord to see us through them, we come to a fuller understanding of our great need for Him and that all good things, even if they seem not so good at first, are gifts from the Father.
This week during Midday Prayer Time, around 10:30 AM and 2:30 PM, I’ll be sharing from the first chapter of James.
Mon 06/14 James 1:2-8
Tue 06/15 James 1:9-11
Wed 06/16 James 1:12
Thu 06/17 James 1:13-15
Fri 06/18 James 1:16-17
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