Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised Him.
It’s difficult to worship the Lord in the midst of trial and pain. I often allow myself to become so indulged in self-pity and hopelessness that I forget who I am and what my purpose for living is. I find doubt, confusion, anxiety, and even bitterness stowed away in my heart when things aren’t going the way that I would have them. There is no doubt that many others suffer much more than the occasional argument, sickness, financial burden, or death that intrudes into my otherwise trouble-free life. Nonetheless, I somehow find a way to bottle up all the ungodliness I can, and miss the blessings that are made available to me.
I have to admit that verses such as James 1:2 have left me somewhat confounded in the past. Consider it all joy whenever I encounter various trials? I’ve comprehended this on a surface level, and even taught it before, but it really is hard to have joy in the midst of heartache and pain. I know that the “testing of my faith produces endurance,” but all too often ignored is the necessity of endurance. If I don’t see the need to endure, if I don’t want to endure, one could see how this deflates the whole system.
Scripture, however, always answers Scripture. The fact that I never saw the need for endurance in the past is only a testimony to my lack of serious study. I encourage you to read James 1:2-12. Don’t, however, be tempted to remain within the confines of verses 2-6. The true peace, and the completeness of verse two do not come together until one has read verse twelve. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised him.”
I’ve never been one covetous of royalty, but the crown mentioned in verse twelve sure gives me ample reason to embrace endurance. I have no clue as to the magnitude or the complexity of the trials you may be currently facing. I do know one thing though; in the midst of those trials, there is a grand opportunity for joy. This joy is not found in self-pity or hopelessness, but rather, in the knowledge that you will one day receive a crown of life upon your head. One who perseveres under trial has victory in the same test set before Abraham, Moses, Job, and Jesus Christ. The one who endures in the midst of heartache and pain has acquired a faith worthy of Hebrews eleven. If you and I can find joy in that endurance, if we can persevere in faith, our testimony will be an encouragement to fellow believers, a defeated battle for the enemy of our souls, and a crown of life, which was promised to us by the Lord. Above all, it may be the purest form of worship we can present to our God. I can think of no greater joy than this… regardless of how painful it was obtained.