vv 2-3 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
This letter from James to Christians from a Hebrew background starts out with a major and realistic assumption about faith – it will be tested through a variety of troubles. In other words, following Jesus is not a guarantee of an easier life.
Today, reflect on the situations that have tested your faith. Look out for evidence that you grew as a Christian believer as you endured that situation.
It may have been a health issue; it seemed that God was not answering your prayers for healing as you struggled with pain and discomfort.
Or a problem in relationships that caused heartache – what did you learn?
Struggling with the pain of loss can test our faith and confidence in the love and essential goodness of God.
How can we progress through such events and make some kind of sense of them? James points us to a fundamental heart-shift. These trials of whatever kind are not to be used as opportunities to moan but rather to consider it an opportunity for great joy. Is that easy? – Of course it isn’t! This shift from being problem orientated, (and therefore moaning) to becoming outcome orientated (and therefore rejoicing in the opportunity to build faith) requires the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
But then that is exactly what God has promised every believer!