We have learned a great deal about facing trials during the past two years of the pandemic. If we do not approach them in the right manner, our responses can become very negative, e.g.
- we become bitter, resentful and impatient;
- we turn our anger on God and charge Him with being uncaring and powerless to help;
- we even blame Him for the trials.
We have already considered some of the lessons that James learned as he shared family life with Jesus, ‘the Perfect Brother’. He recorded many of them in a letter in the Bible that bears his name, James. It will be instructive to take note of what he had to say about ‘facing trials’. It is interesting to note that he began by saying, ‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience, but let patience have her perfect work’, James chapter 1 verse 2. The word, ‘when’, emphasises that trials are a certainty. The word ‘various’ indicates that they come in different forms. James also highlights the positive good that can come from them, e.g. patience and maturity. If we view them in this positive manner, we will not become bitter or resentful; indeed, we will REJOICE that we are facing them!
No one has faced more trials than the Lord Jesus. Peter, one of His disciples, said of Him, ‘Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously’, 1 Peter chapter 2 verse 23. The Bible also records of Him, ‘Who for the JOY that was set before Him, endured the cross’, Hebrews chapter 12 verse 42.
This was the Brother that James knew and he encourages us to walk in His steps, when we face trials!