Turning Your Trials into Triumphs
T. J. Hallock
There is a danger in preaching on this passage of James and it is in the risk of turning its healing truth into an empty, sugarcoated bromide. That danger begins with the very first words of the passage. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds". May the Lord never let me suggest that those words mean that our trials are all happy moments. If you're dealing with physical disease it hurts. If we're facing financial burdens they're painful. If we're being attacked by dark emotional demons there's no joy in that battle. Trials are painful. Trials hurt and no amount of insensitive religious rhetoric will make them hurt any less. As long as we are in this body of flesh residing in this world of sin that will be the truth. We come today to face that truth, not to cover it over with a whitewash of meaningless euphemisms.
Indeed it is only when we face the pain our trials bring that we will reach out to grasp the promise James offers. That promise is this: There is pure joy waiting in the midst of the painful flames of our trials because there is someone greater than those flames standing in the fire with us. He will not allow the fire to consume us but He will direct its heat to purify and strengthen us. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, BECAUSE you know that testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Iron and carbon become Steel only as they are passed through the melting fire that burns out their slag and then as they are shaped by the steelworker's skilled hands. A soldier is hardened for combat only by first being toughened through the painful trials of a rigorous boot camp directed by a drill Sergeant's experienced hands. An automobile manufacturer confirms the strength of his product and addresses its weaknesses only wh ...
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