“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:2-5, NASB).
James was a leader with a direct way of speaking — lacking pleasantries or preambles, he was blunt and straight to business. After a one-word greeting, he launched right into his letter with this imperative: “Consider it all joy.” In other words, be happy when you are in an unlikely place called difficulty. But finding joy when things are rough is challenging, so the following four words will help you understand how you can obtain it.
CONSIDER – KNOW – LET – ASK
James knows that when you come to Jesus you are going to face trials and tribulations, and he says that whenever, not if, you face them, you are to consider it joy. You may have to refocus in order to find the joy, but it is there. It comes from considering the outcome of what you are enduring and following the biblical admonition to closely reflect on it.
Don’t give up before your testing is over. An important thing to know is that your trials are not taking anything from you; they are producing good things in you. It may feel as though God is against you, but he is for you and is maturing you, so don’t abort his mission. In other words, do not waste your trials. You could be close to the end, so let God’s grace enable you to endure.
Finally, what if you get to a place where you have no idea what to do? Simply ask God for wisdom and he will guide you. In fact, asking God is really just another phrase for prayer, so put your trust in him and ask freely — with confidence.
Tim Dilena pastored for 30 years in Detroit and then in NYC at Brooklyn Tabernacle. Pastor Tim, his wife Cindy and 4 children now Pastor in Lafayette, LA.