Summary: Since we all have troubles how do we face those troubles?
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
A recent request for sick leave to the U.S.S. Saratoga read: Dear Captain, When I got home I found that my father’s brick silo had been struck by lightning, knocking some of the bricks off at the top. I decided to fix the silo, and so I rigged up a beam, with a pulley and whip at the top of the silo, and hoisted a couple of barrels full of bricks to the top. When I got through fixing the silo there were a lot of bricks left over. I hoisted the barrel back up again, secured the line at the bottom, and then went up and filled the barrel with extra bricks. Then I went down to the bottom and cast off the line. Unfortunately, the barrel of bricks was heavier than I was and before I knew what was happening, the barrel started down and jerked me off the ground. I decided to hang on, and halfway up I met the barrel coming down and received a severe blow on the shoulder. I then continued on up to the top, banging my head against the beam and getting my fingers jammed in the pulley. When the barrel hit the ground it busted the bottom, allowing all the bricks to spill out. I was now heavier than the barrel and so started down again at high speed. Halfway down I again met the barrel and received severe injuries to my shins. When I hit the ground I landed on the bricks, getting numerous painful cuts from the sharp edges. At this point I must have lost my presence of mind because I let go of the rope. The barrel then came down and struck me another heavy blow on the head, putting me in the hospital for three days. I Respectfully request five days extension of leave.
Since we all have troubles (maybe not as many as that young seamen), how do we face those troubles?
I. THE PROMISE OF TROUBLE
James begins his book in James 1:1-2 by reminding us that trouble is common to all of us. Brothers, James says in verse 2. With that emphatic, he is identifying with all of us. We all have troubles that we fall into. That is the same word used in Luke 10:30 where Jesus said a man “fell among thieves”. James has in mind here the everyday trials that we all find ourselves in. Scripture is plain that troubles are common experiences of man:
Job 14:1 - "Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble
Psalm 22:11 - "Be not far from me for trouble is near me."
While troubles are common to all of us they are varied in the way they come. Trials come in various varieties or as the King James says, “divers manners”. That word means “many colored”. Troubles are common but they come from all kinds of sources and have all sorts of faces.
Most importantly, troubles can be very confusing. James says our response to these common and varied troubles is to “count it all joy.” If we are honest, this is hardly the first response most of us have when faced with trouble. Count means “to lead it through the mind.” Everything tends to get out of order in our minds when we are stressed and going through trials. That is why we must stop and get it all ordered in our minds – remembering who we are and Who God is.
Having joy in trouble doesn’t mean enjoying trouble! Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus for the “joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Christ did not find pleasure in the cross but He found joy in it because it was there He accomplished the will of the Father.
II. THE PURPOSE OF TRIALS
James 1:3 says that trials come as a testing of your faith. The purpose of testing your faith is to help you to see whether or not your faith is real and how strong that faith is. A jeweler gives as one of the surest tests for a true diamond what is called the water test. An imitation stone is never ever so brilliant as a genuine stone. A genuine diamond placed in water sparkles brilliantly although it’s under water while the imitation is practically extinguished as to its sparkle. Place one along side the other in water and you’ll be able to pick out the real diamond relatively easy.