When we are in the middle of our trial or problem, it is so hard to think of the end result. We are so wrapped up in the pain and suffering that we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Today’s passage is asking us to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel rather than focusing on the problem itself.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
The hardest question I have ever tried to answer is why. Why did God allow this to happen? Not only have I been asked the question, I have asked it myself a time or two. The truth is His ways are not our ways. We can’t fully understand why God allows bad things to happen. However this passage gives partial insight into our question. It explains that the product of a trial is patience and the importance of patience is that if it is able to have its perfect work in our lives we will be perfected. An interesting note here, is that he said count of consider it joy, not that it is joy. God is not asking you to be happy that you have a problem; he is asking that through your faith in him, you can see that the product of the trial will be a joy. I had a scout leader one time correct me when I called him. I said, “Doug, we have a problem.” His response to me was, “We don’t have problems, only opportunities to achieve greatness.” I believe God will bless us if we took the same approach in our problems in faith. Rather than praying for God to help our problem, what if we looked to Him and said, “God we have an opportunity for you to get the glory.”? I remember an account where Jesus passed by a man that had been blind from birth. The disciples asked if the man had sinned or was it his family that sinned. They believed that his blindness was payment for a sin that he committed or the sin of an ancestor. Jesus’ response surprises them. Jesus said ““Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him…”. The man had to be blind so that God could heal him and we so could see God as the great healer. The Michael Frost Trio has a song called, “God’s Going To Give You A Testimony.” When I hear this song I am reminded that I can look at my problems and know that the work of God is going to be revealed in my circumstances. I do not think God is asking us to be happy when problems and pain enters our lives. Jesus was not happy on the cross but He did endure the pain to give God the glory. When pain and problems enter our lives, if we allow them to collide with our faith, we will see God working in our lives. My parents enjoy watching the gold mining programs on TV. Following the mining they have to heat up the gold where the imperfections float to the top. They, then skim off the sludge leaving the purest gold. As we go through life there will be times where God allows our circumstances to heat up so He can remove the sludge. Some problems are God trying to clean us, while others are just for Him to bring a miracle to us. Regardless of the many reasons that God may allow the pain and heartache in our lives, I hope we can count it a joy so that at the end of the tunnel God has used the problem to perfect us according to His will.
Dear Heavenly Father, one of the hardest things to do in our flesh is to count our problems as a joy. Today, I pray that our focus can be on the joy of knowing that you are working in our lives. God give us the strength to look at the product of the trial, where we become perfect and complete, lacking nothing. God we want you to work in our lives that we may be called sons and daughters of the most High God. We pray this in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.