Suffering

Joel Plantinga

Read: James 1:1-4

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. (v. 2)

A group of people called Storm Chasers take their equipment and, in the name of science, drive into violent storms as the rest of us seek shelter from them. They admire the beauty of the massive cumulonimbus clouds, the force and fury of the downdraft winds, and the power of massive tornadoes. As they measure and study them, they hope to be able to better predict future storms to keep us all safe.

When’s the last time you woke up and asked God to lead you into a good “life storm” to shake you up a little? Is there ever a good time for this? I initially find it a little strange that James tells us to “count it all joy,” even “pure joy” (v. 2 NIV), whenever we meet trials. Counting our suffering as joy is certainly an acquired taste.

I notice in our prayers that we always ask God to get us out of the difficulty but rarely stop in the middle of it all and ask him to show us wisdom, strength, or to help us depend more on him. We become so focused on getting through our circumstances that we forget that our primary purpose is to glorify God no matter what storms in life may rage.

God is no less sovereign in your struggles than he is in your victories. A walking faith gives us hope that the best is yet to come. —Joel Plantinga

Prayer: Lord, show us more of yourself in the storms of life. Use our suffering for your glory. Amen.