“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3 NKJV)
There are times when the book of James requires reading while wearing steel-toed boots. These two verses are pretty tough. James admonishes his readers to count it all joy when trials come. Mind you, when James was writing this, those trials could be major life and death issues because of faith. He could have been talking about believers being disowned by family and thrown out of the house without any means to support themselves. He could have been talking about losing employment because of their commitment to Christ. Rather than getting angry and fighting back; rather than sighing and saying something like “well, that’s my cross to bear,” James tells his readers to consider it a source of joy because that testing of faith produces patience – and growing faith, or a deepening relationship with Jesus is worth those inconveniences.
And let’s face it, for the Christian, all of life is a reflection of our faith. And I gotta admit, I don’t do too well on this checkmark. I’ve gotten better, but there are still some things that can make me lose my patience – or should I say that I let certain circumstances get to me when I shouldn’t and lose my patience. I discovered part of my issue yesterday, as I analyzed why I lost my patience. I was trying to do something nice for another person. I followed the instructions. Then, someone else stepped in who had some control over the situation and said, “do you really want to do this?” I said yes, but apparently took too long to respond. Without my knowledge, they cancelled what I was trying to do. I followed all the rules, jumped through all their hoops, and the only reason I found out what was going on was because I double-checked. The smart thing to do would have been to express my disappointment and fix things. Instead, I expressed my rage and ranted and fumed and vented until I went back and fixed things. I endured that trial and was found guilty of impatience. I realized that I was mad because I had done the right things and others messed up. The plan for the future is to make sure that I forgive when others mess up and then fix what I can…patently. If you get impatient easily, like I do, figure out why, and then make plans to learn to consider those trials all joy.
Lord, I hate to tell You this, but You still have a lot of work to do in me. I guess You knew that, though. Keep working on me and help me to consider those trials joy as they lead me to grow in patience and forgiveness.