“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2)
In a sense COVID-19 was just another day in the office. We live in a fallen world broken and beset by malady. Though we couldn’t see tribulation of that scope coming, we are all well acquainted with grief. Some trials are bigger than others and the challenges they present more severe, more prolonged, or more personal. Big or small, near or far, trials are part of life in a world under the scourge of sin.
James was written to people undergoing trial. Through it the Spirit of God ministers to His people on the field of battle, meeting us in our need right in the thick of life. Our God draws near and ministers to us in whatever we face, or as James puts it: “when we meet trials of various kinds.”
In the name of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, James begins his letter by talking about trials. In so doing he doesn’t call us to brace ourselves for the adversity. He doesn’t extend an embrace of comfort. Rather, he urges us to form an opinion, to adopt an attitude, to take a stance. We are to consider it all joy. Not just joy; that would be strange enough in the face of hardship. All joy, he tells us.
We begin our journey into James with a take on trials. Take as in adopting the perspective our God and Father wants us to have in the adversities of life that threaten to undo us. But also take on as in how our God equips to handle those trials in a way that honors Him and realizes His purposes for us in them.
“Heavenly Father, I am weak but You are mighty. Lord Jesus, You are acquainted with sorrow. Draw near to Me as I sit at Your feet and learn of Your ways.”