Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
When I was about 11 or 12, my mom and my sisters and I would listen to a popular kids Christian radio program every day on the way home from school. I remember one episode focused on James 1:2a and told me to “count it all joy.” At the time, I thought it was a good verse to memorize because it was short, and it talked about something good, joy, and I knew I needed more of that.
As I grew older and read the rest of the verse, I learned that it wasn’t just telling me to have joy in the good times, but when there were trials in my life! So for years I focused on the section where it talked about the trials of life. I would get upset with myself if, during the trials my family was going through, I didn’t feel joyful.
Then I came to a place in my life where I could look back at the trials I had experienced and see how they had affected me, both good and bad. I discovered that through those terrible times is when I discovered the most about God and grew stronger in my faith. I truly began to realize what verses three and four of James chapter 1 meant! I had gained assurance of my faith, became grounded in God’s truths, and knew where to find wisdom.
Now, here I am, years down the line and looking at my children. I see them so young in their faith and it brings me to remember when I was in their place. And I ache for them. Why? Because I know for them to mature in their faith and really grow in their faith, they will have to face trials and hard times. Can I be honest? I’m scared for them too! They will have to learn how to make choices in the face of opposition to God’s ways. They will have to go through heartbreak and rejection in order to really be able to sympathize and honestly say “I know how you feel.” So many lessons for them to learn along the way.
But I know that through all those times, God will be, yet again, testing me as their mom while I watch them struggle. My prayers will be for them to persevere and mature in their faith, no matter what they must journey through. And one thing I know for sure from going through my own trials is that God will watch over them and their mom, through it all.