Joy in Suffering

[2] Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, [3] for
you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (James 1:2-3).

Try to remember a time in your life that was really hard. Do you have something in mind? Ok,
now reflect upon your emotions during that time. How did you feel? Angry, sad, grumpy,
distraught, or, violent?
James starts off his letter by talking about suffering. His original audience was Jewish
Christians who were being persecuted. there’s no doubt that whatever they were going through
was hard, but right off the bat, he had an encouraging word for them in the midst of their
suffering. He didn’t want them to be angry, sad, grumpy, distraught, or, violent. In verse 2 he
says that he wanted them to consider their suffering to be something to find joy in. They were to
rejoice in their suffering!
How in the world could he write that? Was he crazy? Why would anyone want to
rejoice about suffering?
Verse 3 tells us. It says in verse 3 that our suffering will produce steadfastness, and
because of that, we should be joyful!
Do you know what steadfast means? Think of a huge tree. A huge tree is steadfast. That
means that when the storm comes, you can’t knock it over very easily. The wind may blow, the
rain can pound, and the snow can pile up, but unless that tree is dead, it’s not moving. This is a
great picture of what it means to be steadfast.
James is saying that being like that immovable tree is something to rejoice in, but the
only way to become steadfast is by enduring suffering. It’s certainly not fun in the moment, but
knowing that God can use it to produce immense strength and perseverance in us is a blessing
that should cause us to be joyful.

Read Romans 8:18
1. How does this verse help us endure suffering?
2. Who do you know that is suffering right now that you could encourage with these truths?

Our Father, thank you that you love us enough to form godly character in us. Help us to
persevere well when life gets really hard. We know that it is part of the plan. Give us eyes of
faith to see and hope and trust. We thank you that you sent Jesus to suffer for us so that our
suffering is only in this life and not the next. In Jesus’ name, Amen.