Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing
of your faith develops perseverance
JAMES 1:2-3 (NIV)
No gift quite matches the gift of perspective. If value is determined by an article’s relative abundance or scarcity, perspective is nothing less than 24-karat gold. The book of James offers such perspective to those enduring “trials of many kinds.”
In the best of times, our vision remains weak. We cannot catch even the briefest glimpse of the future; we have no idea what the next year, week, day or even hour might bring. We tend to make our judgments based on superficial, outward observations. When worries and trials push their way into our lives, we often draw back within ourselves, further limiting our eyesight and understanding.
Writing with a pastor’s heart, James offers wisdom to those who have been displaced, scattered and persecuted. He begins with this piece of extraordinary counsel: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3). Joy? In the face of many trials? The only way such a thing could be possible is through the eternal perspective offered by Scripture and God’s indwelling Holy Spirit. It is the testing of our faith, says James, which develops perseverance.
And that’s not all. “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (v. 4). In other words, our difficulties and struggles are part of a process designed to bring us to a plane of living beyond anything we have experienced. That’s the sort of “big picture” insight into life we could never find on our own.
No matter what our situation may be, a Biblical perspective is the only one that brings us such perseverance and patience … and peace.
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop
and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.
You too, be patient and stand firm,
because the Lord’s coming is near.
JAMES 5:7-8 (NIV)