Y’all, we, generally, can’t prevent the trials that come our way. But when they come, we basically have three options. We can stick our head in the sand and hope and pray that they go away; we can get mad at God and everyone around us; or, we can face them, deal with them the best we can and let them help us grow in our faith and dedication. Sometimes, we may do all three before we settle on a way to handle trials, but, at some point, we have to choose how we handle them. Trials are going to come. Not just big trials either, but little ones. James says trials of many kinds, while I can’t say what they are, I can almost promise you that anyone that is hearing my voice will face a trial of one form or another today. Some commentators stress that James is only talking about big obstacles, but I think he’s talking about any of them because if it’s only big stuff like the loss of a loved one, job, or a health crisis, that’s not, relatively, many opportunities to grow stronger in our faith. So, while I pray it’s nothing big, but even if it is as small as being stuck in traffic, it’s still a trial and James says we should consider it joy because these trials make us stronger, they help us develop perseverance.
Instead of a prosperity gospel that says if we are right with God we are exempt from trials, James is trying to teach us about a faith that grows in the middle of trials and adversity. It’s how we deal with the little trials we face throughout our day that prepares us for the big ones. Just like athletes who train to grow stronger and get better at their chosen sport, we must train to grow stronger and get better in our walk with Jesus and that means facing trials and using them to grow as Christians.