Are you in a disturbing, troublesome time? Has something happened to you, your family, or a circumstance threatened to tear you down, put you down, depress you, or discourage you? Likely, you are in a life storm, just coming out of a life storm, or about to go into a life storm.
The book of James, in the Bible, tells the Christ-follower, there’s just ONE thing to do. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” James 1:2
Other ways of saying this word is to say consider, suppose, or think about.
The time in your life, opportunity, or experience.
Calm delight, cheerfulness, or gladness.
Your difficulty, calamity, affliction, trouble, problem, or circumstance.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, is telling his readers to think about the difficulties and problems in their life with calm cheerfulness. We are to listen to this same instruction today, but it is difficult to hear. It is hard to live out. Walking this path is almost impossible. Instead of exercising “joy”, we often exercise our right to ask WHY!
- WHY am I going through this circumstance?
- WHY is this happening to me?
- WHY can’t I have a moment’s peace in my life, everything has to be so difficult?
- WHY does my family have to be sick and not seem to be getting better?
James understood the WHY questions and provided the proper response. We can learn from James’ teaching the following explanation to our WHY questions. (James 1:3-4)
- The testing of your faith (confidence in God) produces endurance.
- Endurance is also known as steadfastness and patience.
- Perfected endurance causes you to lack nothing.
THESE TROUBLESOME TIMES IN YOUR LIFE ARE BUILDING YOUR CONFIDENCE IN GOD WHICH WILL PRODUCE A TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON HIM AND CAUSE YOU TO LACK NOTHING.
James knew his readers would need encouragement to “hang in there” when the times get tough. You also need encouragement to keep looking to God. The best way James could encourage his readers was to tell them to conduct themselves with cheerfulness and calm delight.
He didn’t tell them this because it would be easy, a pleasure, a piece of cake, or anything else pleasant on the journey through the circumstance of pain, difficulty, and calamity. James told them to count it all joy because he knew the end result. He knew those who endured the hard times, kept trusting in God, depending on God, and leaning in toward God would receive “a crown of life”. (James 1:12) James remembered Jesus said “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
James wanted his readers to remember the goodness of God. He wanted them to remember there was a reward for keeping their eyes on God, despite their circumstances. In James 5:11, he reminded his readers, “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
Side Note – Let’s remember one more thing about Job, God knew Job was a righteous man. That was the justification God gave when recommending Job to Satan to “try to get”. God knew Job was already approved by God. God knew Job would be able to stand the troublesome, difficult, distressing, hard times. Job endured to the end. He kept looking to God and endured. He consistently kept God in the place of control. God was compassionate and merciful in the end. Job was able to experience first-hand the faithful love and care of God.
Your life circumstance, troubles, difficulties, and discouragements may have you feeling anything but calm delight. Find encouragement in the message of James and Job. Do this one thing James teaches when trouble comes your way. Practice it today. It does not come naturally. It must be learned, practiced, remembered, and rehearsed again and again.
THINK ABOUT THE DIFFICULTIES IN YOUR LIFE WITH CALM DELIGHT. GOD HAS ALREADY CONSIDERED YOU APPROVED BY HIM. CALMLY DELIGHT IN THE DIFFICULTY AND HOLD TO GOD UNTIL THE END. YOU’RE IN LINE FOR A CROWN OF LIFE.