James 1:2-4 - Trials as Teachers.

James 1:2-4: Trials as Teachers.

James 1:2-4 (NLT) Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come 
your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know 
that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 
4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you 
will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.  

   James doesn't say if trouble comes your way but when it does. 
He assumes that we will have troubles and that it is possible to 
profit from them. We can't really know the depth of our character until 
we see how we react under pressure. It is easy to be kind to others 
when everything is going well, but can you still be kind when others 
are treating you unfairly? James tells us to tum our hardships into 
times of learning.  
   It may help to remember that God wants to make you mature and 
complete, not simply to keep you from all pain. Instead of complaining 
about your struggles, look at them as opportunities for growth. The 
point isn't to pretend to be happy in the face of pain, but to have a 
positive outlook because of the good that troubles can produce in your 
   Thank God for promising to be with you in rough times. Ask 
him to give you wisdom for the problems you face and to give you the 
strength to endure them. Then be patient. God will not abandon you in 
your problems. He will stay close and help you grow. [One Year NLT 

   We don't normally think of trials as "pure joy," and even if 
we can mentally agree to the truth of James's perspective, we 
assume it must be a deep, imperceptible joy that has no practical 
implications for us. When the duration and intensity of a trial goes far 
beyond our expectations, we forget the principle and begin to question 
God's goodness. We don't want deep, imperceptible joy. We want relief. 
   But God really does mean for us to appreciate the benefits of 
enduring difficult trials that produce faith and maturity. Our trials 
often accomplish a depth in us that can't be achieved any other way. 
When we can look past the painful process and value the lasting 
result, we experience the joy of knowing God is working in us for good, 
and the end of the story will be well worth the trouble it took to 
get there. [NIV Once A Day Bible] 

It's impossible to develop patience in a hurry. Most of the 
ingredients of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) grow slowly in us 
- although some are quicker than others. But patience, or 
forbearance, is one that by nature can only be cultivated over time and in 
the presence of adversity. James uses farmers and Job as examples - 
farmers for the process of waiting for nature to run its course as the 
land yields its harvest, and Job for enduring through the worst of 
circumstances. Whether we are in the normal patterns and processes of life or 
stretched to our limit in extenuating circumstances, God will teach us to 
wait patiently for his timing. When we do, we will eventually see the 
fulfillment of his work and his promises. [NIV Once A Day Bible re James 


Oozing Joy
   In a tumbling roll, Zach-man bounced into the enchanting 
threes. However, he entered that age pressed down and overflowing with 
mischief. It did not take long to realize that his personality matched the 
clown decor of his room perfectly. But that was not always a good 
   At times his antics bordered on frightening. The worst was 
the month his lightning-fast hands resulted in our having to call 
poison control - three different times. It was critical that he learn 
self-control. A corner was cleared, and often he found himself in it.  
   This made his older siblings, Jesse and Mykah, anxious. 
Neither seemed to remember that corner time was the way they had learned 
how to manage their impulses. All they saw was that time-out meant 
an interruption in their play.  
   One morning at the breakfast table, Zach was too 
rambunctious, and I ordered him to the corner. Before he left, Jesse snapped, 
"You're too hard on him. He's always in time-out."  
   Right then Zach spun into motion. It was as if he was the 
lead in our breakfast play and had heard his cue. He picked up his 
bowl of oatmeal, and in an aerial feat, firmly planted it upside down 
on his brother's head. Gooey oats dribbled down his big brother's 
startled face.  
   Jesse turned his piercing hazel eyes on his brother's dancing 
blue ones and squinted. In a low growl he said, "Never mind. Send him 
to the corner."  
   Like a bubbling volcano, laughter erupted from deep inside 
me. One by one everyone joined in, including oatmeal-faced big 
brother, as well as the little troublemaker, now facing the corner. Sandy 
Lackey Wright  
   Father, as time passes, let the trials we face be memories of 
joy. For we know that what seem like such huge problems now will be 
but faded recollections in years to come. Amen. [The One Year 
Devotional of Joy and Laughter by Mary Hollingsworth]