James may have been the first book to have been written in the New Testament. Most Bible scholars agree that the book, written by the earthly half-brother of Jesus
Christ, was penned before any of the Gospel accounts or the epistles of Paul.
I’m always impressed that, even in this early phase of the church’s history, believers were already experiencing great trials and needed a word of encouragement
from the Lord.
Near the beginning of his book, James commands: “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). Then, he begins to talk about
why we can consider it pure joy when we encounter trials of every size, shape, and color.
As you read the opening verses of James carefully, you’ll notice that the blessings that come from trials flow one out of the other.
First, trials bless us with patience (1:3). Patience, in turn, helps us to become mature and complete spiritually (1:4). In order to reach maturity, we need the
wisdom that God gives us each time we ask Him (1:5). Next, we see that receiving God’s wisdom in a trial requires asking in faith.
So, another reason to “count it all joy” when you fall into a trial is because trials produce trust in God.
In James 1:6-8, the Word of God says:
But let him ask
[for wisdom in trials]
in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8, NKJV)
What is faith? Faith is simply trusting that God is who He says He is and that He will do what He has promised to do.
According to Scripture, it’s impossible to please God apart from faith (Hebrews 11:6) and impossible to be saved apart from faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
James reminds us that it’s impossible to receive the help we need in a trial apart from faith.
He writes: “Let him ask in faith.” God wants us to cry out to Him believing that He will hear, answer, and act as we call on His name.
James warns us against praying with “doubt.” Doubt is the opposite of faith and trust. It’s what happens when we are unsure about God’s power or intentions. When
we call on God with a heart filled with doubt, we are like a wave of the sea, driven by the winds of our own emotions and circumstances, and unstable in our walk with God. Doubt-filled prayers don’t receive positive answers from God (James 1:7).
So, when you pray in the midst of trial, or when you pray in any circumstance as a follower of Jesus, trust that God hears and will answer your prayer.
A friend of mine tells the story of a Saturday morning when he was reading a book in his den.
His daughter – three or four years old at the time – came into the room and asked, “Daddy, will you build me a playhouse in the backyard?”
Absentmindedly, he answered, “Yes,” without even looking up from his book.
He continued reading. But then, my friend noticed something as he looked out the back window. His daughter was bringing armload after armload of toys into the backyard.
He called out to his wife, “What’s Melody doing?”
His wife answered, “You told her you were going to build her a playhouse, and she’s getting ready for it!”
My friend immediately closed his book, jumped into his truck, and ran to the home supply store to buy lumber, shingles, paint, and nails. He worked all day, and
by nightfall, his daughter had her playhouse.
He was moved to action by his daughter’s trust!
How much more will God hear from heaven and move to act on our behalf when we ask Him
believing that He hears and answers!
Today, as you call on God, pray with a heart of child-like trust.
Have a great day and keep moving forward!
Suggested Bible Reading
Today as you pray …
Thank the Lord for being God and hearing your prayers.
Ask Him for increased faith as you face the trials of your life.
Praise Him that He has blessed you and is working in every circumstance you encounter.