From James, we have learned that in the face of our trials and tribulations, we can choose to rejoice. We do so because we have faith to believe God is at work in the midst of our difficulties.
That reminds me of what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Do you believe what Paul said? Is Romans 8:28 true? If it is, with God’s help, we can learn to coexist with the pain, the confusion and the struggles that come our way in life. But for that to happen, we must take a step of faith.
That’s really what James is calling us to. He’s saying we can rejoice, even in difficult times, because we have learned to trust that God is up to something good.
Paul says it like this in Romans 5: “We also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Don’t miss the progression that Paul lays out there in Romans 5:3-5. First, he tells us that we can rejoice because suffering produces perseverance. Suffering is such an intense word. Nobody likes it, but we will all face our share of suffering and hardship in life.
The good news is that we can persevere and get through it. If it wasn’t hard, you wouldn’t have to persevere to get through it. That is why James said suffering produces perseverance. He goes on to say that perseverance produces character.
Character is really only proven in the midst of difficult times. That’s where character is molded. We can’t really know the depth of our character until we see how we react under pressure.
Then he says character produces hope. Hope is what comes out of that character that is forged in the midst of our suffering.
Finally, he tells us that hope never disappoints. God’s love on the other side of our suffering is what pulls us through.
James is ultimately saying that we can rejoice in the trial now because we know that through this hardship and through this difficulty, God is doing a work in our lives to shape us, mold us, refine us and mature us as we become the kind of people that he intends for us to be.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.