Happy Easter Sunday! I pray that the weekend has been nothing short of beautiful (even if you can’t see it right now). May you be able to look back to this time and smile. Let’s read…
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,James 1:2 NKJV
Until now, I hadn’t learnt this verse for myself. My understanding was borrowed and I am glad that those who taught on it, shared insight that carried me to this place. For so long it didn’t sit well with me that we had to go through trials in life. I didn’t like being tried. Comfort is a good place, but not fertile ground for growth. As long as I chose to hate trials — I was pushing back certain processes of growth. I don’t know if there’s anyone out there like me, who felt attacked by certain teachers and people who shared their story. You know when someone is genuinely talking about how they have evolved and you find yourself feeling all touched and convicted in your little corner? Yep, that was me for sometime.
Anyway, I have read James 1:2 several times and not until recently did it hit me that — these trials aren’t about me, alone. It’s not about what they can make of me, but who I can become for God’s glory. The growth process I had resented suddenly became valuable in my heart. Joy became an accessible reality. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t get excited for personal gain. Something is only meaningful to me when it benefits a cause bigger than I. So, the perspective that trials were there to bring me times of suffering (not refreshment as I see it now) bothered me. If I am going to be tried, at least let it be for something beyond myself.
How did I get over my issues with finding joy in situations that would otherwise rub me off the wrong way? See the verse below.
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2 NKJV
First of all, when faith becomes “our thing” instead of God’s — life can become bitter. You can’t have faith and focus on yourself. The quintessence of our belief lies in Christ. We have to intentionally learn from Him when it comes to the things we may see as “ridiculous” to imitate from the Bible.
In Hebrews 12:2, we learnt that Jesus’ motivation for His (growth) process was joy! All the suffering that He withstood was for the joy He was seeing after it was over. Simply confounding. I wanted to find the relationship with His experience and mine. As I studied the two verses I’ve used this post — it was clear to me that both context speak of something greater than immediate satisfaction. After being tried, you may not feel good immediately after it’s over. The scars of your trials may stay with you forever (ask Jesus). Yet, the glory attached to that process is everlasting. The glory at the end of “ridiculous” season belongs to God, yet He’s so kind to share it with us.
I will explain. Jesus didn’t only see the joy of our salvation, but the glory of the Father as the end. It wasn’t about us and it never will be. The reason why Christ kept going was because He wanted to please God. Being tried is more about pleasing God than it is about gratifying our flesh. We cultivate obedience in such seasons. An obedient heart is prone to being patient. Christ’s motivation was the glory His death and resurrection would bring to the Father. Our salvation is secondary to the glory God gets for giving us His son in the first place. Jesus knew He would get to enjoy this glory at the right of the Father, so He stayed the course.
Hebrews says, He despised shame! The antonym of shame is glory! I hope someone will embrace this together with me. When we are tried and we persevere, God is glorified in us! That’s the most fulfilling and best measure of joy we could ever have. May we find joy in our seasons of trial and growth, for God’s glory.