If you read the book of James for the first time, you might be a little mystified by the beginning verses of his letter that say, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds…” (vs 2) Maybe your initial reaction would be, “Pure joy? Are you kidding me? This James guy must be out of touch with reality?! How are you supposed to find joy in trials, suffering, difficulty and hardship?!”
However, if you read a little further, it becomes clearer what the writer means. Joy can begin to resonate within your spirit when you have a different view of difficulty. Instead seeing problems as only something to endure or escape, through the work of the Holy Spirit, your troubles become avenues that are useful to produce “perseverance...so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (vs 3-4)
Even though you may not like anything about what you are going through right now, maintaining God’s viewpoint helps you get through the days when you’d rather give up and stay in bed. Instead of just trying to ‘put up with’ the things that come your way, if you alter your perspective and see the events of your life as a part of God’s work to bring maturity, you can, indeed, learn to rejoice.
This entire week of readings will focus your attention on a woman who faced many trials and was used mightily in the life of Israel. Learn from Esther, a bold and fearless woman of perseverance and faith in the living God.