"Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter varioous trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4
I read that the deeper meaning of the word "joy" is to be satisfied. I want to ask you if you are content or satisfied with your lot in life. James says that we should be. In fact, he says that when we encounter rough waters - when we encounter various trials - we are to meet those trials with contentment.
By definition "trials" are suffferings that put strength, patience or faith to the test.
When James wrote these words, he was talking to fellow BELIEVERS. That's US.
How can we rejoice or be content when we are suffering a trial of some sort? We are not glad to be unhappy - but we celebrate the fact that in the midst of painful, hurtful circumstances - God is THERE - with us - meeting our needs (not necessarily our wants). The God of the universe has made Himself small enough that He has concerned Himself with and acquainted Himself with MY problems!
It's not problems that matter so much (problems come and go) but with a sense of wonder, I am transported far beyond my trial, and I "see" God holding me up, bending over me, attending me, expressing His tender love for me....
When I say that I "see" it, it is through the lens of faith. I am believing that God IS who He says He is, and that He does love me the way He says He does. To do this I have to know what the Bible tells me about Him. So prepare NOW for the testing of your strength, faith and patience that will surely come, by READING the Word.
We must first KNOW the Word. Then we BELIEVE that Word. Then we ACT on the truth of the Word.
It will feel bad at first. But push through that pain. Like giving birth, there is joy unspeakable on the other side of that trial.
As I write this I am reminded of my childhood. Whenever I got sick, my mother would take care of me. She would feed me delicious meals, prepare tasty treats, medicate me, see that I rested in bed, freshen my sheets every day, and so on. I loved the attention. I didn't like being sick, but I loved the TLC.
I think James is telling us this same thing: You don't have to like the trial, but rejoice in your heavenly Father's tender loving care over you.