When we find ourselves in the midst of a “trial,” we often focus on the trial itself. We commonly believe several myths about trials:
- They’re always someone else’s fault. (Another person, God, the devil)
- We are the only one experiencing trials. Our trials are far worse than anyone else’s.
- Once we become Christians, trials happen less often, don’t hurt as much, or stop altogether.
- Once we deal with a significant trial, all future trials disappear or become really easy to handle.
- Removing or ending the trial will eliminate all pain associated with it.
- If we can just fix all the problems we’re facing, we can be happy.
The Bible is clear we must address problems for which we’re responsible. But we commonly shirk responsibility for those things and focus our energy upon fixing things we cannot.
So don’t miss James’ first imperative statement–one of many–in his letter. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (1:2). Before we can “count it all joy” when we face them, we should observe a few truths that counter the false assumptions we believe about trials.
- Christians are not immune to trials (“my brothers”). In fact, the trials for these Christians resulted directly from their commitment to Christ.
- We will face trials (“when you…”). He didn’t say “if you…”
- We will continually face trials. “Trials” is plural.
- We won’t face the same trial/trials over and over (“trials of various kinds”).
- We aren’t the only ones facing trials. It was written to Christians in the first century and has applied to everyone since. We may feel alone at any given time, but that doesn’t mean we are alone in our struggles.
We must exchange our dependence upon misbeliefs for confidence in the truth. Once we do, we can begin to “count it all joy” when we face trials.