In our mid-week study, Antonio is guiding us through a study of the psalms. Such a vast amount of material with only a chance to skim the surface. This past week we looked at Psalm 9 with some discussion of chapter 10 as well. David, the author of these two chapters, talks of praising God and telling of “Your marvelous works.” (Psalm 9:1) But then in chapter 10:1 says, “Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide in times of trouble?” I believe what David shares is the reality we ourselves often experience. In one moment we are at peace with God and life. Then trouble comes and we can’t seem to see Him so clearly.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
A short while back, someone mentioned the fact that we have had our fair share of health issues in this small church family. Couple that with the job concerns, vehicle problems and the list can go on: we are faced with “various trials.” James gives us some insight on how best to approach these trials. It is not surprising that he starts with the attitude, saying, “count it all joy.” The joy being spoken of here means the cause or occasion of joy. This joy is rooted in what the Christian anticipates God will do. As J. W. Roberts writes, “It is only when they are understood to be the occasion of benefit that they may be reckoned as joy and received as such.” One thing such testing will do is help develop our faith by producing patience. Few would argue that patience is needed for this journey homeward. Revelation 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” With a godly attitude, we will come to learn of godly patience.
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4
This patience is not idleness, as though we are waiting for the storm to pass; rather, it is to manifest itself in the character of the Christian. The “perfect work” which James speaks of here in not “moral perfection or sinlessness.” (Note James 3:2) It is speaking of a maturity that enables him or her to “attain to the station or stature to which God has called him” (J. W. Roberts).
Trials are not random events in life; but rather, God ordained situations placed in life at just the right time so we can become more of what He intends us to be. And when the trial doesn’t seem to make sense, if we lack the wisdom to see through it clearly, “let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5) God can and will make sense of whatever we are confronted with in life. We need only fix our eyes on Him. (Hebrews 12:2)