Think back to your first hard fall. Let’s say you’re like, eight-and-a-half, sort of clumsy, and you fall hard—real hard—off of some moving plaything with too many (or not enough) wheels. In one moment, the pavement becomes the proud owner of half the skin that only milliseconds earlier belonged to your knees and palms. Then, your dad tries to cheer up your sobbing face with words like, “That must hurt, but have you apologized to the sidewalk yet?”
This preposterous suggestion that the lifeless sidewalk got the bad end of the deal is intended to divert your attention with a laugh. Your dad made light of your pain in effort to make your pain lighter. Maybe the author of James was a dad, because the first verses of the first chapter make a similarly preposterous suggestion.
Whenever we face terrible experiences of all sorts, James wants us to count them as unadulterated joy. Not just sometimes, whenever. Not just some trials, many kinds. Not just, “don’t worry,” but pure joy. Not because someone else has it worse, but because the trial itself—that testing of our faith—carries with it the potential to make us mature and complete.
James is not just saying, “It’s okay, you’ll be all right,” he’s saying, “Throw a party, this trial means you’re closer to Christ!” So, go ahead, mark this trial in the win column of your future, and bolster the trophy of life and more life.
Identify how you’ve fallen real hard, or like the sidewalk, something came falling real hard on you.
Good Father, thank You for this trial I’m in. I don’t understand it right now, but I believe in Your goodness. Please give me wisdom so that my decisions will lead to maturity and completeness.
James 1:1-4, 1:12