Sun coming out as storm clouds leave

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:2-4

James has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible. I like to call it my comfort food. Over the last two weeks, I certainly have needed comfort food. I feel like I have been brought through the ringer. It has been one thing after another of hard things. At times I felt like I was being used for target practice. I know many of you have been going through the same thing. As I was pondering everything that has happened, James 1:2-4 came to mind. This verse can be a hard pill to swallow, yet it also comforts me and gives me strength to keep going. When thinking about life from a fleshly mindset, telling someone to count it all joy is probably the last thing you would want or think to tell someone as they are going through a bombardment of hard things or trials. 

Yet, this is what our all knowing, all powerful, and loving God tells us. He loves us enough to tell us what we need to hear and not what we want to hear. He breathes life into us. When I really think about how blessed I am in the fact that through all of this I know that God has not left me or forsaken me(Deut 31:8), I can be joyful in knowing that even though these things are hard, God will use them for good(Rom 8:28). One of those good things is listed here in James 1 regarding steadfastness.  

Miriam Webster defines steadfastness as “firm in belief, determination, or adherence: loyal” What great qualities to have! I know I have so much respect for believers that I see who are firm in their faith and have loads of determination and are loyal to God above all. The testing of their faith in trials is how they got there. So often as I read the stories of the heroes of our faith like Joseph, Daniel, Moses, David and so on, the one thing they all have in common is they went through very hard things. Their faith was tested and they came out steadfast on the other side of it. God is using these things to build character in our life. How awesome is that?! When we can walk in joy, it strengthens us(Neh 8:10). That strength enables us to keep going and produces steadfastness. 

When we as God’s people face hardships, we have something that the world does not have. We have hope. I can’t imagine going through life without God. I am eternally grateful that I have God with me. Let others see that hope and joy in us so that they might be drawn to the light, the giver of life and the savior of our souls. Let that joy produce steadfastness in your life so that you will become unwavering in your reliance on Jesus. No matter what is going on in my life, I know that all I need is Jesus. I am determined to count it all joy.  I will push past the hurt and take captive the thoughts of despair, sorrow, and frustration. I will reject the lies of the enemy that whisper, “Jesus does not love you, God has forsaken and abandoned you”. I will hold fast to the truth that God never leaves or forsakes me. That God is love and His love for me is allowing the testing of my faith because He desires good in my life and part of that good is steadfastness. What joy to know that I can always trust in Jesus! 

I pray that we all can find joy as we meet trials of various kinds. I pray that we become firm and unwavering in our faith and that we witness the mighty working power of God continually. I pray that others around us see our God through us and that they too will come to know Jesus. 

Written by Rebecca Murzin

Categories: Church Blog