Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” James 1:2-3

When we first read these verses, we may be tempted to think that we misread them. We tend to think that we should consider it all joy when we avoid trials, or when we are spared from trials – but certainly there is no joy in meeting trials!? And yet, that is exactly what James is directing his readers to. Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds! Not because trials are fun – but because trials are working for us. They are the means that God is using to test our faith, and so produce steadfastness and perseverance. Olympic athletes withstand much rigorous training to increase their strength and endurance. God desires to produce spiritual strength and endurance in His children, through the various trials that He allows into our lives!

One of the songs we sing includes these lines,

“Christ the sure and steady anchor, As we face the wave of death;

When these trials give way to glory, As we draw our final breath.

We will cross that great horizon, Clouds behind and life secure;

And the calm will be the better, For the storms that we endure.”

Heaven will be all the sweeter because of the very storms that we endure on this earth!

Have you lost a loved one recently? Or are you facing some other serious trial this morning? If you are facing any one of a thousand various trials this morning, let your hearts linger for a moment on the God who allows these trials into your life, and is using them to redirect your focus away from the fleeting pleasures of earth, to the eternal joy in mansions of glory! Praise God that He loves us so much, he is willing to use even trials and difficulties to draw us into a deeper loving intimacy with Him!