Day 1

How Can We Rejoice in Suffering?

from the James reading plan

James 1:1-18, Jeremiah 31:7-14, Matthew 4:1-11, 1 Peter 1:6-7

BY Raechel Myers

Scripture Reading: James 1:1-18, Jeremiah 31:7-14, Matthew 4:1-11, 1 Peter 1:6-7

Have you ever noticed how in times of pain or trial, we comfort our friends, loved ones, and even ourselves, with words like:

“You’re going to make it through this.”
“Tomorrow will be better.”
“What can I do to ease your pain?”

Our endgame is an end to suffering. We pray for the bad times to go away. We beg that they would never come at all. A whole industry of mylar balloons and teddy bears exists bearing the sentiment, “Get Well Soon!” We ask the Lord to remove our thorns, to help us endure our hardships, and to bring us through suffering as unscathed as possible.

But Jesus’ brother James, the author of this short letter, has an entirely different take on trials.

“Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials.”
– James 1:2

Don’t get over them. Don’t rush through them or past them. Rejoice in them.

James tells us not to be so hasty to escape the faith-testing valleys because those valleys contain the fertile soil needed to produce steadfastness. And steadfastness—being immovable, unable to be shaken, deeply rootedis perhaps the true “wellness” we should be seeking.

As Christians, we eagerly say we want to be like Christ. But many of us are really only asking for the good stuff. “Lord, make us loving and patient and joyful!” we sing in chorus and with enthusiasm.

Jesus was indeed all of those things, but He was also described by the prophet Isaiah as “a man of suffering who knew what sickness was” (Isaiah 53:3). Christ Himself learned obedience through His suffering (Hebrews 5:8). And so it is for us. It is from those dark yet fertile valleys that steadfastness begins to spring forth—first sprouting from faith, then budding into love, and flowering into patience and joy.

Today, or tomorrow, or whenever you find yourself in a place of trial—do not minimize it or rush through it. Instead, give thanks to the Lord. Pray for endurance and steadfastness from the One who has already endured and proven Himself steadfast.

As backwards as it may feel, this difficult trial or painful suffering is a time to thank the Lord. This is the time to rejoice.

We do not rejoice because bad things happen, or because this poor, fallen world is full of death, injustice, and sorrow. No. We rejoice because the sovereign Lord calls us His own. He loves us enough to descend with us into the dark yet mysteriously fertile valleys, to produce in us a steadfastness which cannot be shaken.

Thanks be to God.

“Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
– James 1:12


Post Comments (269)

269 thoughts on "How Can We Rejoice in Suffering?"

  1. Rebecca LamendolaFry says:

    Rejoicing in the midst of trials… Thais is so important for us to know, understand, and practice. After the extreme trials I went through in 2017 and 18, I now thank God in the midst of trials for a) joy in the midst of chaos b) opportunities to further develop my patience c) trusting in Gods goodness even in the darkest of times d) professing my gratitude at ALL times!!

  2. Megann Swiers says:

    I just really want Jesus to lead me and tell me what I’m meant to do in this odd place I’m in because I’m so confused

  3. Megann Swiers says:

    I can get so frustrated in trials because, especially the one I’m in right now, I really knew God was providing this for me and wanted me to experience this. But now that it’s ending, I’m upset that God would give me something so good just to take it away. Buy um going to do my best to rejoice and be thankful I had the experience in the first place

  4. Hayley Wilson says:

    This was definitely convicting! I definitely see this pattern of me just praying for strength to get through trials instead of asking God to teach me through them or thanking Him for them.

  5. Maiya Howard says:

    What a paradigm shift; instead of rushing out of the trials, pray for steadfastness and endurance and stick it out.

  6. Jessica Watt says:

    Going to start praying for steadfastness and endurance more than praying for a way out. Beautifully written. God is so faithful.

  7. Kasie Ellsworth says:

    This is amazing , yes ! This convicted me .

  8. Erin Pearson says:

    In my life, there seems to just be one thing after another hitting me. I try to remain faithful to God’s calling and produce fruit, but some days it is hard to get beyond my own self pity. I pray for all who are going through hardships that we all may be able to find the good that God is presenting to us.

    1. Courtney AlexandraHolliday says:

      I have been feeling this way as well. I am learning to trust God with each day and allow him to help me each moment throughout the day to find opportunities to give him praise. As cliche as it is, thanking God for the little things and reminding myself of how faithful he has been in other areas of my life has been helping me to trust that his faithfulness is not wavering now. Praying for you.

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