“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 NIV
“If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God!” v. 12 TPT
Trials reveal the strength of our faith. This entire chapter of James 1 is a plumb line for testing our faith. Failure is not where we give up, but rather a place to grow and become stronger. Trials will refine our faith, or it will reveal a shallow belief. When we pass through with tried and true faith, God promises a greater joy.
Sometimes my faith hasn’t passed the test. It’s hard to “count it all joy” when someone I love betrays me. It was hard to find the joy when my father died leaving so many things left unsaid. So much life still undone, and many questions unanswered. Hard to find joy, yes of course. It isn’t the crushing and breaking of my heart that is joyful. But while I was plunged deep into pain, God was there. I turned to Him with all the faith I could muster. He was there with me. He went with me as far as the darkness seemed to take me. My faith has been tested beyond what I thought I could handle. And yet, as I have persevered, the spiritual reality of joy as a result of God’s faithfulness has in turn strengthened my own. Being grounded and tethered to God’s mysterious ways is profound, and the unexplanable joy that comes is real and true.
Lord, Forgive me when I have turned away from You. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Strengthen my faith in whatever way You choose. Have Your way with me. I trust You with my heart and my life. Test me and refine me. I want more of the joy I experience with You. “Make me whatever You want me to be. Bring new wine out of me.*” In Jesus’ name, amen.
*New Wine lyrics by Hillsong Worship