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Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

Consider it pure joy…”

Consider it pure joy…”

I’m chewing on this phrase today because my heart hurts, and no amount of cajoling or mental trickery has managed to snap it out of its funk. It hurts for a reason, a real reason that’s not going away any time soon, and try as I might, I can’t seem to break these words down into something digestible. Instead, they swell, choking me, demanding my attention, a sure sign God has something to say to my heart.

Consider it pure joy…”

Not “feel,” but “consider.” In other words, decide that it is and respond accordingly. A matter of choice rather than involuntary response. That’s good because my ‘want to’ and gumption are in short supply.

But why consider it pure joy?

“…Because the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

Okay. Perseverance is good, but this hurts. I’d rather the hurt disappear.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

Again, maturity is great, but I’d rather the hurt go away!

Until I remember what’s at stake.

A born-again child of God, I represent the Father. I show and tell others what He is like. As His ambassador, I have the distinct privilege of directing others’ attention to His divine perfection so they might be saved and so He might be worshipped for being the holy, sovereign, merciful, gracious and kind God He is, that He’s proven Himself to be in my life.

I do that best when I am most like Him, when I am mature and complete, lacking nothing, something this passage says comes through our trials.

So, there it is.

I want the hurt to go away, but I want to serve Him more.

Given the choice, I’d rather endure trial and pain knowing that God will use it for His glory than live a life free of it, knowing I could’ve served Him better if only I’d been willing to suffer.

My heart is far from happy this morning, but that’s okay. My happiness isn’t the ultimate goal.

Regardless of how I feel in this moment, I will obey the Father.

Heart burning, eyes stinging, stomach rolling, I will consider this trial a joy—a blessing, really, for the opportunity it affords—and respond accordingly, surrendering my will to His in prayer, accepting the peace He provides when I do so, and placing my faith in the only One able to work all things together for my good and His glory (Rom. 8:28, Eph. 1:11).

He’s worth it!