“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2)

I like to go camping. As you might guess, camping with 5 children age 8 and under is a real joy…or…maybe a little more accurately… challenge 🙂 But one of the things I really enjoy about camping is it’s essentially programmed difficulty. You expect it. Almost every time you go camping, something goes wrong, doesn’t work out as planned, is difficult, like raccoons eating your food, mosquitoes eating you, or just up all night trying to get comfortable.
But life’s like that too, isn’t it? Life is difficult. And yet, so often, we’re tempted to think that life should be easy, life should be a breeze, everyone else has a wonderful life, why’s mine so difficult? Why does this always have to happen to me?
Should life be easy? God’s never promised an easy life. God’s never said that He wants you to have a happy temporary life here. God’s never promised that you should have a life free from pain, difficulty, or struggle. Instead, God HAS promised trouble, hardship, persecution, the cross.
Partly that’s the way it is because we’re sinners and we live in a sinful world. Partly that’s also the way it is being a believer in Jesus living in a sinful world that hates Jesus.
So, should we be gloomy, sad, pessimistic and depressed? Nope. God says, “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds.” What? How can you do that??!!
“Joy” is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, as the Holy Spirit works on your heart through the Word He gives you joy. Through His Word He drives His promises deep into your heart and that’s what gives joy no matter the circumstance.
Think about it, you have a God who suffered trial and trouble far worse than you can imagine on the cross so that you might never experience the worst pain of all, hell, but rather have peace and pardon forever. You have a God who has promised to never leave you but shower you with His presence in any and every situation in life. You have a God who’s even promised to work everything – even troubles and trials- for your good, for the strengthening of your faith in Him and for keeping you on the path to eternal life.
With our Savior, we can face trials of any kind, even with joy.
Considering even trials as pure joy with Jesus, just like you,
pastor