Count It All Joy

Barbara Brinkworth

As a new Christian, over 30 years ago, a close friend encouraged me to read the Bible daily.  Of course, there were many things I did not understand.  As I read the Bible through each year, the stories in God’s Word became more familiar.  I looked forward to my time in the Scriptures.

Four or five years later, there was still one verse that made no sense to me.  It was James 1:2, ”My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations.”  How could one thank God for problems? 

I had been through many testings and trials, since I had trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour.  During these times, there had not been a lot of joy going on.  I had had to move from West Virginia to New Jersey to care for my ailing parents.  My younger brother had died at the age of 36, and ten days later, my mother died.  Within two more years, my dad died — unsaved.  That was very hard to accept.  Also, my oldest daughter was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident. Whew!  Was I joyful during all these events?  I think not.

Since God’s Word is true, what had I been missing about James 1:2?  How could I accept and understand that verse?  God had the answer, and he gave it to me as a present on my forty-second birthday.  Here is how it happened:

I was at a Bible seminar with two friends, who were also sisters.  The speaker at some point had discussed James 1:2.  As always, I had listened, in vain, hoping to be able to apply that verse to my own life.  During the next break, I was speaking to my friends about their mother, Dot.  She had been through many trials recently, including the death of her husband and some serious physical problems of her own.  She was discouraged, to say the least.  All of a sudden I found myself saying, "Wouldn’t you think Dot would see God’s hand working through her problems?  Wouldn’t you think she would know God cares, and count it all …?”  I stopped mid-sentence.  That was my answer to the meaning of James 1:2.  It was not that I should be joyful for the trials, but rather joyful about the God of the trials.

Through the testings and temptations God brings into our lives, He teaches us how to live and serve Him better.  He also reveals more about Himself to us in each diverse situation.  As we see Him work through our trials, we are more assured of His love and care.  We learn more of His character.  Our faith is strengthened, as we see God working on our behalf in ways only He could accomplish.

Now, James 1:2 is part of my own personal arsenal to keep discouragement at bay.  During times of diverse temptations, I am better able to trust God and count it all joy.  I just wait and see how He will use the trials in my life for my ultimate good and His eternal glory.

  “The brook would lose its song if we removed the rocks.”

 

This article was featured in The Bible View #183.

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