Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
These are the words I’ve been reflecting on for the last few weeks, as I’ve been preparing for our series in the book of James in Student Ministry. These are the words I’ve been trying to figure out how to teach to a group of students who I’m sure are all facing varying trials in school, relationships, and/or at home. “Count it a great joy…whenever you experience various trials.” On its own, this seems like really bad guidance. “Oh, that thing you’re struggling with? Get excited about it!”. You go around saying that to someone without any context, you may as well present them your jaw for a good ol’ punch.
But what we need to remember is that we are not facing these trials on our own. God doesn’t say to us, “Okay, now, go through this really hard thing, I’m gonna sit here and watch, make sure you survive!” No, as we know from the Great Commission, that we’ve been reciting together as a church, Jesus finishes his time on earth by saying, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. Jesus is with us.
When we’re going through that trial, he’s standing there with us. He’s encouraging us and speaking to us to persevere. He’s given us His word to use as a backbone for our defence. We see Jesus, when he was tempted in the desert, he doesn’t overcome the adversary alone. He uses scripture to stand firm. And we also need to. God is with us. When we’re going through trials, God, in His grace, is saying something like, “Okay, you’re going through this hard thing, but don’t fear, I’m with you, you can overcome this, with my help”.
Now, I don’t wanna cut Jolene’s grass, but Hillsong released an album this year that had a song called Another in the Fire. And I want to leave you with it. When you’re going through something difficult, whatever the circumstance, remember that you are not alone. As it says in the song, “Should I ever need reminding, how good you’ve been to me. I’ll count the joy come every battle, ‘cause I know that’s where you’ll be”
Mike Sanders, Youth Director
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