The Bible tells us to “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2). What a preposterous statement! Do you know anyone who thinks joy and trials fit together? But James is presenting God’s perspective—not a human one. Suffering has some surprising benefits that aren’t readily apparent to most people.
It’s important to realize these verses are not telling us to be happy in our pain but rather to rejoice in the blessings that accompany suffering. The word consider means “to regard.” When we look at hardships from God’s perspective, we can rejoice in the beneficial outcome, even while experiencing pain.
For many, understanding the purpose of trials makes rejoicing easier. The Lord wants adversity to test our faith and produce endurance and spiritual maturity. In every hardship, He has hidden a beautiful and precious reward, but whether we receive it depends upon our response. Those who really want to be transformed into the image of Christ can rejoice in the good that will result from hard circumstances.
Does your hunger to know the Lord and be transformed by Him exceed your dread of distress? None of us want to experience pain, but since it’s an unavoidable reality in this fallen world, why not respond in a way that produces eternal benefit? Let’s not waste our suffering.
And that’s the memo.
By InTouch Ministries