1 This letter is from James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing to the “twelve tribes” Jewish believers scattered abroad. Greetings! 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
There’s two things I hear from people enduring major trials. There’s the “How could He” camp which keeps questions how a loving God could do something like this. They look at the circumstances and ignore what James says here in his letter. Instead of looking at it through James’ eyes they look at it as someone (God) being haphazard with their life, or playing games. They look at the struggles like a child looks at cleaning their room: they throw a fit, complain, and grow mad with their authority. This camp gains very little, if anything, from trials because their perspective dictates that they are being attacked instead of trained. Then there is the second camp.
“What is He doing?” This may seem negative at first glance but it is usually SAID in an excited way of “I dunno what He is doing, but it is going to be awesome!” This camp looks around at the struggle and notes that the larger the struggle the greater the success afterwards. The greater the success afterwards the MORE trained and equipped they will be, meaning they are going to be prepared for something amazing. They see the level of training being equal to what they are being trained for. Though they do not know what is ahead, they know that they are being setup to be successful.
The benefit of the second camp is (other than being Biblical) that they are receiving the training and truly growing from it. This is what James is talking about! God is producing endurance, and growing us when we hit trials. If we continue in light of this we will find ourselves needing nothing. Why? Because once we have developed trust in a lengthy trial we will trust God to provide in the next short trials, and know that He is our provider. Our endurance is strengthened and once we stop taking our eyes off of Him we are now in the realm of Matthew 6:33 “33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” BEFORE receiving the strengthening of our endurance we were stuck in the realm of verse 6 of this chapter: “6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”
Endurance leads us to being able to fully count on Matthew 6:33, which is one of those ultimate Earthly promises. So God, let us endure trials! (You currently are)
Spend 1 minute thanking God for the trials you’ve been through and for putting up with your thoughts through those trails. Then spend 2-3 minutes praying for God to show you what you need to learn in your current trials AND remind you constantly to be looking for the opportunities in your trials.
Do not find someone who is in the middle of a trial and try to preach this to them unless they are a close friend. Instead, go to your close friends and tell them this NOW before they are in a trial. It is much harder to preach these things to someone who is currently struggling. Just like with training, it is made to be done before being called to action.