Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. NIV
Consider it joy when you face trials. This is counter-intuitive.
Before I began this project, I really couldn’t see the wisdom of these verses, which, in my experience, are quoted pretty often.
Prior to spending time looking at what the Bible says about worry, my response to verse 2 was always, “James must have been out of his mind.” As I saw it, trials were a source of nothing but worry. Worry is far, far, far from joy.
But, the trials of the last couple of years, combined with the daily hunt for wisdom on the subject of worry in God’s word, have shown me that James wasn’t crazy … he was a mature Christian.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.” MSG
I’ve been there … when tests and challenges come at me from all sides, I have not felt gifted. It has typically made me want to crawl into a hole … to burrow down and find someplace that is beneath the fray.
“You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” MSG
As I look at this, I would say that prior to the last couple of years, the true color of my faith was likely a pretty pale color.
A few years ago, we had our house repainted. We had a really hard time choosing a color. The house was white when we bought it, and I personally struggled to see it being any color other than white. We tried multiple different colors by painting them in swatches and then standing back to observe the effect. At one point, we thought we had settled on a color, I can’t remember what it was called, but it was a very, very light grey … my next door neighbor said it best … “Don’t paint the house white,” she said. I remember thinking, “But, it’s not white … it’s grey.” Really, the only person who could see the difference was me. My husband said that he could see a difference, but, it is likely that he was just being supportive.
That was my faith before … the color was visible only to me.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Henry Blackaby says, “Anytime God leads you to do something that has God-sized dimensions, you will face a crisis of belief. At that point what you do next reveals what you believe about God.”
What you do next reveals everything about your faith … under pressure, your faith shows its true colors.
I want my faith to show through in bright, brilliant colors … regardless of my circumstances. Like the gorgeous shade of red that I ultimately chose for our front door, or the warm orange that my sister and I picked for our foyer … those are the colors that I want my faith to be. Warm and welcoming and embracing of the world around me and all the people in it.
That’s what I’ll think about today.