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
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
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
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]
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY ON THIS PASSAGE:
ONE OF THE BEST PRAISE SONGS OF ALL TIME:
EXCELLENT VIDEO SERIES ON EXPERIENCING GOD:
BIBLE PROPHECY SERIES ON REVELATION RECENTLY COMPLETED: