“Consider it all joy when you fall into many-sided, changeable and variable trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”. James 1:2-4
Most Bible versions use the word “various” to describe the trials, but I decided to dig a little deeper into the definition to see what that really means. This verse is talking about trials that are all over the map. Trials that don’t follow a pattern. Trials that keep changing.
It’s difficult enough to face one big trial. But when every time you turn around there’s a new one, or the one you’re in keeps changing, it’s even more of a challenge. And yet, we’re told to be joyful.
My Dad’s recent stroke is a big trial. But then there was the surgery complication, the previously unknown heart condition, and now just to add to the drama, a 5 day power outage at the family home in New Jersey due to a freak October snowstorm.
Many-sided, changeable and variable trials tempt us to sigh and whine and say, “What now?”. But I think James is telling us instead to smile, look up and confidently say “What now, Lord? What do you want to show us now?”
We’re learning as a family that joy isn’t dependant on an easy road. Joy comes from knowing that the difficult road of “various” trials leads to steadfastness and endurance and a place where we lack nothing.
We’re far from perfect. But I know we’re on a road that will get us there.
Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven. Luke 6:23
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48
Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. James 5:11