Consider it Pure Joy…

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.(James 1:2-4).

What a crazy thing to say…consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds? How can that be?

For the Christian, suffering is not a matter of if but when. Christ suffered. Disciples suffered. We are told in 2 Timothy 3:12, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

1 Peter 4:12-13, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”

This doesn’t mean you should go out looking for persecution and suffering. That would be dumb. But what it does mean is that when trials and tribulations do come our way, they are given meaning and purpose.

Here is the amazing thing about the Christian faith: the Bible tells us that suffering has a purpose. Suffering tells us that we are on the right path. Suffering draws us closer to God. Suffering shows us our need for God. Suffering helps us to grow in maturity. Suffering makes us more like Christ.

Simon Wiel wrote: “The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering but a supernatural use for it.”

Christians look to suffering not only as a place of pain, but as a place of meeting God. Suffering does not merely happen to us. It works in us!

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