“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, ESV)
In reading through James 1 this morning I found myself lingering over the word “when” in the second verse. The thing that strikes me about this word is that it’s not “if”. In other words, it’s not a matter of if you encounter trials but rather when. You will encouter trials.
It’s interesting when I consider how people like to refer to the Bible as a “map” or a “guidebook” for life. Typically, you leverage a map or guidebook to identify the best (easiest and fastest) way to get to your destination. When I open the Waze app on my phone every morning and enter in my office address as the destination, I select the route that has the least amount of traffic and slowdowns. I avoid the routes that will cause my commute to be longer or more painful than it needs to be.
Here in James, we are are not told how we can avoid trials. We’re simply told to expect them and we’re told how to respond when we encounter them. We’re to “count it all joy”. These trials of various kinds are helpful in testing our faith and building up our endurance to persevere through this life as we are continually being sanctified and becoming more and more like Jesus each day.
It may not be the easiest path. But it is worth it. For our good and His glory.