Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.
Wait a minute, I don't know about you, when hard times come in my life I am not jumping for joy. Why does James call us to be joyful?
Think about it like this, have you ever gone through a really tough time in your life, where you feel like your entire world is falling apart. Can we all say COVID!
It is a reminder that everything that we go through is and will serve as a purpose because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
The first, and perhaps most popular story of perseverance that comes to mind, is the epic story of Job. His example was one of extreme pain and sorrow. Yet through it all, Job stayed true to God and his faith.
I suggest you read the story for yourself, in its entirety, but I’ll hit the highlights.
Job is a wealthy man living in a land called Uz with his large family and extensive flocks. Job was a faithful man, blameless, and upright. He served God and was a diligent follower.
One day, Satan appears before God in heaven. God boasts to Satan about Job’s goodness, but Satan argues that Job is only good because God has blessed him abundantly. Satan challenges God that, if given permission to punish the man, Job will turn and curse God. God allows Satan to torment Job to test this bold claim, but he forbids Satan to take Job’s life in the process.
In one day, Job was told by different servants that all his belongings and possessions, livestock, and ten children had been killed or destroyed by natural disasters or thieves.Job tears his clothes and shaves his head in mourning. Despite all this, Job still praised God, even in his sorrow.
Next Job was afflicted with terrible skin sores and his wife encourages him to curse God and to give up and die, but Job refuses, struggling to accept his circumstances. He persevered and praised God instead. In his grieving and illness, Three of Job’s friends, come to visit him, sitting with Job in silence for seven days out of respect for his mourning. On the seventh day, Job speaks, beginning a conversation in which each of the men shares his thoughts on Job’s afflictions. Despite the terrible advice, they offered him, Job still praised God.
But soon his praises turned to questions, bitterness, and anger.
Job questioned how a just God could allow such terrible things to happen, even to a faithful servant.
God eventually intervened and implored Job to be brave. Realizing the power of God and overcome by it, Job recognized God’s true character and accepted his own faults and constraints as a human. Job also intervened for his friends and God had mercy on them, despite their horrible advice.
God then had mercy on Job and restored his health and all his possessions, granting him twice as much as he had previously more children and long prosperous life.
Job’s story is the ultimate test of faith and an example of perseverance in the Bible. Even in the darkest times, through death and turmoil, questions of faith and God, Job was faithful and trusted God’s plan.
REFLECT We can lean into Job’s story as our own and trust that God’s plan is bigger and better than we can ever know.