When you begin reading the book of James, it will catch you off guard. After he does the customary epistle greeting, he jumps right into his subject of trials with an attitude of joy and positivity in the face of hard times. He actually says to count them all joy. Have a different mindset. Instead of moaning and being negative, look beyond the difficulty to see the outcome. Why? Because hard times have a process and a purpose.
James 1:3, 4a reads, "Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work." Of course, we might not like the process of having our faith tried. We might even detest learning patience, but that is how God designed growth during trials.
Let's skip to the purpose. Verse 4b reads, "That ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." Now that gives me hope. The process might be arduous and uncomfortable, but the outcome is so beneficial!
When the various temptations of verse 2 or the trying of my faith in verse 3 grab me, I focus on the word work in verses 3 and 4. God is at work in my life to produce the result found in verse 4. I will be perfect, meaning more mature. Entire means complete. And, wanting nothing? I will have learned a valuable lesson about God that better equips me for my faith journey.
It takes me back to Philippians 2:13, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Am I allowing Him to do a work in my life, even through trials? Am I yielding to Him or fighting against Him? Am I angry or rebellious?
I certainly try not to be! Because I have found the most incredible peace and blessing come from bending my will to His.
So today, if life is hard, look to see where God is at work around you. Set your heart to yield and allow patience to have her perfect work. Then, you will start to see the maturity God is planting within you. You'll learn a valuable lesson, making life seem less hard and more joyful.