To have a 15-year old boy text you to asking if he can have a sleep-over at your house is pure joy! I had that experience yesterday. My grandson David came after school to stay overnight. We went to McDonald’s for dinner, but what came over me when I got home was not so joyful. It seems like this winter season I’ve been coming down with a cold every other week.
I’m sorry I haven’t been able to start up again where I left off with the stories. It will be pure joy when I get the strength to get back on track.
There is something the Bible talks about as pure joy. James, the brother of our Lord Jesus, writes about it. And it’s not something we might think of as pure joy.
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. James 1:2-4
Pure joy when we are tested? Why should we be happy when we face all kinds of trials? Because the testing of our faith develops perseverance.
The man Job was tested beyond what anyone of us has gone through, I’m sure. He was stripped of everything—his children, his wealth, his health. He was so bad off his friends hardly recognized him. His wife told him he should just curse God and die!
The testing was to show Satan and his evil forces that Job’s love of God was genuine. Job stood the test. He recognized that it was a test. How could he consider it pure joy? Probably because he knew what the result would be.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me,
will come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
What a comforting assurance! After being tested, he would come forth as gold.
James, who starts his letter by telling us what pure joy is, reminds us that we are blessed if we persevere under trial. The testing of our faith develops perseverance.
In Romans 5:2-5, the apostle Paul reminds us that we should “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” But we should also rejoice in our sufferings. Why?
- suffering produces perseverance
- perseverance produces character
- character produces hope
That is what I call the Circle of Hope.
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into
our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5).
Who is our Hope? Jesus is our hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27). That’s why we can consider any test with pure joy. Jesus is our hope!
There is so much to say about the subject of counting it pure joy when we are tested. Maybe this introduction to the subject will inspire you to do a study of your own. Look back on your life. I’m sure you will see how the trials and tests you have gone through have brought you closer to God.
Reflect on the Circle of Hope. Amid suffering you are encircled by hope. And hope will not disappoint you.
King David made a heartfelt prayer asking God to test him. Let’s make it our prayer. Maybe you’ve already prayed it.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Consider it pure joy when you are tested. Keep in mind that you will come forth as pure as gold!
(Scriptures correspond to New International Version)