"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
A trial is not just an assault to be withstood, it is an opportunity to be seized. And this little verse in James is intended to inspire, showing us that trials are opportunities to prove our love and enhance our faith. With this perspective, life becomes inspiring -- not in spite of the trials but because of them.
The soldier who is called to the front lines is stimulated at the chance to prove his skills. The officer who is given a position of higher responsibility is roused by the rugged demands of his task. You and I are soldiers in the same way. If you are tempted to slack off from praying and instead you remain faithful, your faith develops perseverance. If you are tempted to feel sorry for yourself, you instead start thinking of the needs of others, and your character becomes refined.
An improved you with greater faith, and a closer fellowship with the Savior.
And this is where the joy comes in!
It's going to happen to you scores of times today. God may test you. The Devil may tempt you. And you decide the outcome. Because you can choose to either backslide or advance. You can either fudge the truth or stand firm on the facts. When it happens, consider each test and temptation an opportunity to be seized, a chance to prove your faith. Your goal? A closer friendship with God.
Lord, my lifetime on earth will be the only chance I will have to prove my faith, to show You how much I love You. When I go to heaven, the chance will be gone. Help me to consider it pure joy to face each trial as a glorious opportunity to be seized.
Joni and Friends
Diamonds in the Dust, April 10