Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
Until my 2-year-old son, Gable was diagnosed with a rare disease and was hospitalized for 8 days, that scripture never really made sense to me.
Consider it a joy to go through a difficult trial? Isn’t joy reserved for the happy times of life?
If you would have told me that my two-year-old son’s illness and subsequent recovery, would be a huge blessing for our family, I would have called you crazy.
But that’s what happened.
When my son Gable’s fever got bad enough for our first trip to the emergency room, my wife and I prayed for God to heal our son.
Two days later, when his fever hit 105.5 and his neck swelled up we rushed him back to the emergency room, we got on our knees and prayed for God to heal our son.
Two days later when we checked him into the pediatric unit at the hospital, with his fever persisting despite treatment from the ER doctors and his pediatrician, and now with a rash developing, his eyes turning red, and him becoming listless, we prayed and prayed and prayed.
Over the course of the next week, it was much the same. Gable got better, then he got worse, then better, then worse, up and down, up and down. Through it all, we prayed.
As we prayed over the course of Gable’s illness, our prayers deepened. Not just to heal our son, but for God’s will to be done with our son. We recognized that we were entirely out of control and God was entirely in control.
And as we submitted our will to God’s will, we found peace in the center of the storm. Despite not knowing exactly what was wrong with our son, or what his road to recovery looked like, we trusted that God would bring our family through this. It wasn’t until we gave up control, that His peace took hold in us.
So where was the joy in our trial? The joy was in abandoning the illusion that we were running the show, and just surrendering to God. The joy was in drawing closer to our Heavenly Father and trusting him more. And the joy was coming through this trial a more faithful and prayerful family.
The perseverance that James references in James 1:2-4 is the hardening and solidifying of our faith. From something wispy like air, or mushy like mud, to a faith of solid concrete that will not only get us through any trial but will give all the glory to God as we do.
God gives us trials to make us stronger. But not just to make us stronger so that our life is better. He needs sons and daughters with strong faith to show our family, and friends, and neighbors the glory of God.
You may be going through a trial in your life right now. You may be worrying about it and trying to control it.
Get on your knees, thank your Father for the trial, and ask him to reveal the change he wants to see in you.