James 1:2-4 - In Trials Find Joy in Christ.
James 1:2 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble
comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.
James 1:3 (NLT) For when your faith is tested, your endurance
has a chance to grow.
James 1:4 (NLT) So let it grow, for when your endurance is
fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for
James doesn't say if you face trials, but whenever you face
them. He assumes that we will have trials and that it is possible to
profit from them. The point is not to pretend to be happy when we face
pain, but to have a positive outlook ("consider it pure joy") because
of what trials can produce in our lives. James tells us to turn our
hardships into times of learning. [Life Application SB]
Instead of complaining about our struggles, we should see them
as opportunities for growth. Thank God for promising to be with you
in rough times. Ask him to help you solve your problems or to give
you the strength to endure them. Then be patient. God will not leave
you alone with your problems; he will stay close and help you grow.
[Life Application SB]
We should not pray so much for the removal of affliction, as for
wisdom to make a right use of it. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
James did not say that a believer should be joyous for the
trials but in the trials.... Most people count it all joy when they
escape trials. James said to count it all joy in the midst of trials
[Bible Knowledge Commentary]
The Greek word here for patience is far too passive and is not
simply the ability to bear things; it is the ability to turn them to
greatness and to glory. The thing which amazed the heathen in the
centuries of persecution was that the martyrs did not die grimly, they
died singing. [Barclay Commentary]
Worldly wisdom can see no value in suffering. It says pain is to
be avoided at all costs, and only pleasure brings happiness. By
contrast, to Christians even trials are a joy because they lead us to
maturity in Christ. Christians judge value quite differently than the
world does. To us the highest value is not freedom from pain but a
faith that perseveres. The suffering that life brings, although bad in
itself, can be turned by God into pure joy. [College Press NIV
Doesn't God's Word come to us like a soft rain shower,
dispelling the fury of the flames? Isn't it like fireproof armor, against
which the heat is powerless? Then let afflictions come, for God has
chosen me. Poverty, you may walk through my door, but God is already in
my house, and He has chosen me. Sickness, you may intrude into my
life, but I have a cure standing ready - God has chosen me. Whatever
occurs in the valley of tears, I know He has chosen me.
Dear Christian, do not be afraid, for Jesus is with you. Through
all your fiery trials, His presence is both your comfort and safety.
He will never forsake those He has chosen for His own. "Do not be
afraid, for I am with you" (Gen. 26:24) is His unfailing word of promise
to His chosen ones who are experiencing "the furnace of
affliction." Charles H. Spurgeon [Streams in the Desert by Cowman]
"The Christian must expect to be jostled by trials on the
Christian way." All kinds of experiences will come to us. There will be
the test of the sorrows and the disappointments which seek to take
our faith away. There will be the test of the seductions which seek
to lure us from the right way. There will be the tests of the
dangers, the sacrifices, the unpopularity which the Christian way must so
often involve. But they are not meant to make us fall; they are meant
to make us soar. They are not meant to defeat us; they are meant to
be defeated. They are not meant to make us weaker; they are meant
to make us stronger. Therefore we should not bemoan them; we should
rejoice in them. The Christian is like the athlete. The heavier the
course of training he undergoes, the more he is glad, because he knows
that it is fitting him all the better for victorious effort. As
Browning said, we must "welcome each rebuff that turns earth's smoothness
rough," for every hard thing is another step on the upward way. [Barclay
Pebble Beach, on the California coast, has become quite famous
for the beautiful pebbles found there. The raging white surf
continually roars, thundering and pounding against the rocks on the shore.
These stones are trapped in the arms of the merciless waves. They are
tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of
the cliffs. Both day and night, this process of grinding continues
relentlessly. And what is the result?
Tourists from around the world flock there to collect the
beautiful round stones. They display them in cabinets and use them to
decorate their homes. Yet a little farther up the coast, just around the
point of the cliff, is a quiet cove. Protected from the face of the
ocean, sheltered from the storms, and always in the sun, the sands are
covered with an abundance of pebbles never sought by the travelers.
So why have these stones been left untouched through all the
years? Simply because they have escaped all the turmoil and the
grinding of the waves. The quietness and peace have left them as they
have always been - rough, unpolished, and devoid of beauty - for
polish is the result of difficulties.
Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him to
shape us to it. And since He knows what work we are to do, let us
trust Him to grind us so we will be properly prepared.
O blows that strike! O hurts that pierce This fainting heart of
What are you but the Master's tools Forming a work Divine?
Nearly all of God's jewels are crystallized tears. [Streams in
the Desert by Cowman]
True faith, like pure gold, endures, no matter how hot the fire.
[Bible Knowledge Commentary]