Warren Wiersbe relates a time when he and his wife visited a world-famous weaver and watched his men and women work on the looms.
Wiersbe noticed the undersides of the rugs were not very pretty. The patterns were obscure. And the loose ends of the threads dangled.
“Don’t judge the worker or the work by looking at the wrong side,” the guide told them.
In a similar way, Wiersbe suggested, we too often look at the wrong side of life. When we focus on our problems, imperfections, and trials, we need to remember only the Lord sees the perfect pattern. He’s not finished with us yet. In the words of the song written by Joel Hemphill, “He’s still working on me to make me what I ought to be.”
It is from this view that James offers an inspired exhortation to help us see and deal with our trials from a spiritual perspective. Wiersbe explains the text with four key concepts summarized by four keywords.
#1 Count–A Joyful Attitude.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
The issue is not if we will face trials in life, but when. Everyone does. We often don’t see them in the lives of others, because we are absorbed in our own problems. Plus other people’s problems are not always obvious.
The word “count” is a financial term that means to evaluate. We need to see our trials from God’s point of view. Our outlook on trials will determine the outcome. And our attitude determines action.
While joy, is not a natural reaction to a problem, when evaluated through the lens of faith we can find joy even in difficult situations. Futhermore, realize that joy and happiness are not synonymous. It’s possible to endure an unhappy circumstance, but maintain the joy of faith.
#2 Know–An Understanding Mind.
“for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
It is easier to face troubles and trials in life when we know they may help us. They can make us stronger spiritually. They can fortify our faith. They can humble us. Bring us closer to God. Produce mental, emotional and spiritual maturity.
Strength of character is not developed in the classroom. By listening to a sermon. Reading a book. Or a devotional blog. It is forged in the crucible of struggle. Striving. And conflict.
#3 Let–The Surrendered Will.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
We don’t like the word surrender. It signals to us defeat. Giving up. Throwing in the towel. Yet, surrender is at the heart of Christianity. Jesus asks us to surrender to Him. Our minds. Our hearts. Our lives.
Without our cooperation, the Lord cannot construct our character. This involves surrender. And at the heart of surrender is obedience. To trust and obey. Even when its hard.
Without a surrendered will, we cannot grow spiritually and become what the Lord desires us to be. And this will involve some trials.
#4 Ask–A Believing Heart
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
When you’re going through a tough time, pray. Ask for God’s help. Seek divine wisdom.
Every situation, circumstance, and challenge of life ought to be predicated by prayer. Not as a last resort with a faint glimmer of hope. Or with doubting. Or duplicity. But believing. With faith in the ability of God to hear our prayers and respond to our heartfelt requests.
While we don’t like to face trials, they are a part of life, But Wiersbe is right “If we see only the problems, we will be defeated; but if we see the possibilities in the problems, we can have victory.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman