James 1:2-4 " Count it all joy, my brothers,
when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect,
that you may be perfect and complete,
lacking in nothing."
(taken from the ESV bible)
A couple of notes:
"Count/consider" calls us to a mental exercise. Not an emotion. He's telling us to think, to reflect, and to esteem the unalloyed joys available to us "whenever we experience various trials."
Left alone, trials are "robbers".
Trials don't get to steal from followers of Christ unless we hand over the goods. In fact, they're commanded to give goods to us if we're willing to receive them. Robbers or reapers, its up to us.
(All quotes from Beth Moore's study on the book of James)
John MacArthur adds this:
on trials- "Every trial becomes a test of faith designed to strengthen"
"Through tests, a Christian will learn to withstand tenaciously the pressure of a trial until God removes it at His appointed time, and even cherish the benefit."
When John says "and even cherish the benefit" I always think of my girls. If God would have answered my prayer and allowed me to be pregnant all those years ago, I would not have Ivy and Lucy.
Not only that but as I was talking to a friend from home last week, she was mentioning all the years of suffering Matt and I have gone through. It seems to some that we can never catch a break. But God has shown me over the years how I have been able to endure these trials. Not that it's not hard and not on my own, but by my trust in Him, He has gotten me through. He has provided the strength.
I'm thankful for these reminders today. I want to be a reaper instead of having my joy robbed.