The Jewish Christians of James’ day suffered in poverty, persecution, and social pressure. The rich maltreated the poor (Jas. 2:6-7; 5:4-6). Many were landless. Taxes were high. Bad things were happening to these good and godly people. Why? First, as noted in our previous posts—to prove the genuineness of our faith, James says; second, to produce persevering faith; and third, to perfect our faith in Christ.
Previously, we looked into the Experience of Trials and the Explanation of Trials. In what follows, we study about the Endurance of Trials. How do you endure trials and tensions in life?
1. Count it all joy. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials” (Jas. 1:2, ESV). James’ note of joy does not begin in v. 2. He gives a joyful note in v. 1—“Greetings.” The word, “greetings,” there is from the verb, chairo—“to be cheerful, be glad, rejoice” (Strong). It is not a noun, but a verb. It is a present infinitive, lit., “to rejoice,” or “to be glad.” Even in the midst of trials and troubles and tensions, James greeted them with a greeting of joy.
While Mylene was in the hospital, somebody said that I always managed to keep a smiling face. I smiled perhaps because I’ve run out of tears. I’ve already cried and cried oftentimes alone.
One of my favorite prayers of all time is that of Francis of Assissi. I remember seeing his prayer framed on the wall of the sala of Dr. Jose Latorilla years ago.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy. O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. And it is in pardoning that we are pardoned. And it is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.
We endure trials by facing it with joy. We can then become His instruments of joy to those who are in sadness.