“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” – James 1:12 NIV
I think that one of the toughest lessons that we have to learn as Christians is how to be joyful in the midst of pain and suffering. James tells us to count it all joy when we enter into suffering and affliction. I’d often wonder what he really means when he says, “count it all joy”. The concept behind this statement is that we consider what we are experiencing as an issue of delight, not on the grounds that the thing itself is something that is pleasurable, but because tribulation works patience/persistence within us. James tells us to count our sufferings as joy not because suffering in itself is nice but rather that the results of suffering are beneficial to us. By this we realize that there actually is a good thing that happens to us in the midst of pain and suffering and that is the light in which we are called to think about our circumstances. Our suffering is not a futile exercise. GOD has a purpose, and that purpose is always good, remember He works all things together for our good. We can count all things joy because GOD is working in all situations, even the most painful, for our sanctification and ultimate glorification.
When we look at the story of Joseph; Joseph was only 17 when he had his first dream and much to his brother’s disapproval and misinterpretation of the dream, they sought to kill him. After the plan to kill him had failed, they resorted to selling him off into slavery. As if that was not enough, he ended up in jail after being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife. Joseph went through so much and him losing hope and faith in his dream really would have been justified. His current state of affairs seemed to be defying the dream that he had. It was in the land of slavery, a place of discomfort that GOD began to use him mightily. It is in Egypt that he became the most influential person in the land and his life changed completely for the better.
This message could not have come at a better time. Most of us are going through a lot given the current state of affairs. Some of us are losing our jobs, going through financial difficulties, having prolonged illnesses and grief, it is just getting harder each day to keep afloat. It is really uncomfortable and most of us find ourselves questioning GOD or even doubting His presence. God’s word tells us the truth, that in this world we will face trials. I don’t know about you but, for me, trials have given me the opportunity to endure a lot and through them I have really matured both mentally and spiritually. I have come to the realization that, in itself, a hardship is not a good thing but since GOD will use it to make me holy, I can rejoice in the sanctifying work He accomplishes through times of personal pain. Knowing that our Father is working everything together for good in my life, I can face my trials with courage and look for opportunities to grow spiritually during such times.
I can rejoice in the sanctifying work He accomplishes through times of personal pain