I’m sure you experienced your fair share of hardships in 2021. Sometimes, they come so fast and furious it’s easy to forget that God has provided a remedy for discouragement, heaviness, dissatisfaction, and downright fatigue.
I am personally using James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. BUT let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing,” as a reminder of my responsibility to remain steadfast in my faith, patient, and unwavering in my belief that God has my life in his hands.
Even in the hardest of moments, we should recognize God’s hand at work; building, strengthening, sustaining, and loving us through it all. Scripture doesn’t suggest that we “feel happy” when trials come, instead, the interpretation is that we are to see our hardships as something worth rejoicing over which, frankly, can still be counterintuitive.
Think of it this way, the word “count” is used in many translations instead of “consider.” The Greek word for “count” is hēgēsasthe, which is an accounting term relating to the organization or collection of things.
James is implying that we should enter our hardships as deposits into the checkbook of our life, not withdrawals. The focus is NOT on the immediate emotional responses to the woes of day-to-day life. For example, how you respond to a flat tire, diagnosis of an illness, or the death of a loved one. We are being asked to see things the way God sees them and categorize our hardships against the backdrop of the goodness of Jesus when assessing our lives.
It’s still a hard command, and yet, it acknowledges something important which we don’t always admit we can decide how we will describe any moment to ourselves. We may not be able to control our circumstances, but we can control how we think about our circumstances.
This is my encouragement for you this week. “Let patience have her perfect work…” when you feel overwhelmed, out-of-control, dissatisfied, or just plain tired. Know that God uses everything you surrender to him for your good (Romans 8:28), and remember, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” Nehemiah 8:10.