“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.”
God’s Word tells us in James that we will encounter trials. Notice here…it does not say “if you encounter various trials”, but it says “when you encounter various trials”. You know as well as I do, that it’s going to happen. If you’ve spent any time on this spinning ball we call earth, you know that our planet is on a trajectory of decay. The beaches are eroding from the ocean, the mountains are eroding too. Leave anything to the elements, it will decay. The natural world itself is suffering at the mercy of man’s hand (and, in some ways, man is restoring our world). Our bodies, as they age, move ever steadily toward death. Pleasant thought, huh? Even in our youth or the prime of our life, our bodies are marred by injuries and surgeries and ailments that we will carry throughout the rest of our lives. Decay. Our society is no doubt in a moral decay. Moral relativism, apathy, and a general self-centeredness has taken hold of our society. Lawlessness is rampant and the lackadaisical attitude toward it is appalling. Decay.
So, if we can agree that everything around us is in a gradual state of decay, can we see that our lives will be touched by a world encountering it’s own trials? How can we not be affected by this world that we live in? A world that has fallen from grace. I will be affected by the trials surrounding my baby boy’s body succumbing to a dangerous viral infection. My husband and I will have to navigate the stresses and pressures that our society places on our marriage (a union that is already riddled with challenges being that it is two sinful people attempting to live in community). And we may fall victim, if even briefly, to an enemy who seeks to injure us in the midst of all these struggles.
So, in the midst of my struggles when my son was in the hospital…when I encountered challenge after challenge and felt as if I was being “sifted as wheat”…I certainly called out “Why me!?!?”
And God gently whispered back to me “Why not you?”
And I knew…I am not immune, not immune to the decay of this world and not immune to the “various trials”. But I can turn around and take some joy, as this verse says, because these trials, though difficult to face, will produce great things in me.