We all avoid painful situations. Things that hurt, that make us uncomfortable, that cause us to struggle. We when see a potentially trying situation coming at us, we run, avoid, and do just about anything we can to protect ourselves. It’s human nature, really. But what if there’s something significant in those painful situations we avoid and dread? James seems to think so.
He tells us in this passage not only to not avoid or protect ourselves from pain and trials but to consider them “pure joy” as you face them. He sounds nutty, doesn’t he?! But he has insight into how God works and moves and it seems that there is something significant that happens in our trails and hardship. Our faith is tested and proved strong, we persevere, and in doing so we mature. And it seems that this is specific and unique to hard situations. That there’s a growth and maturity of our faith in trying times that we don’t get as profoundly in easy, effortless experiences.
What if we took this invitation seriously? What if we viewed the trails facing us as an invitation to joy, to stronger and deeper relationship with Jesus, and to a new level of maturity in our faith?
Instead of avoiding and protecting ourselves, lets lean in, embrace hardship knowing you’re not alone but doing it with Jesus, and trusting that there’s joy and significant growth and maturity in the journey.
Questions to Consider:
- What trials are you currently facing and what is your attitude about them?
- Think back to trials and hardship in your past. How did you see God at work in those places and what did you see God do in you as a result of enduring them?