Matthew 5:39, But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
Job 23:10, But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
Genesis 50:20, You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
Today, we are looking at the third description that James, the brother of Jesus, used to explain the difficulties in our lives. Earlier this week, we studied that trials are inevitable and problematic; today we will examine that trials are PARADOXICAL. If you missed the first 2 blogs on this topic, you can find them @ www.johnmarkcaton.com.
James says that our trials are PARADOXICAL and that we should count it as “pure joy” when we encounter difficulties in life. Is that a misprint? Nope. He said count it “pure joy.” But trials are anything but pure joy. If you are thinking to yourself, “James, you just don’t understand how bad trials are,” let me remind you that he was martyred for his faith. James knows a thing or two about trials. What does James mean when he tells us to count our trials as joy? The truth is that trials themselves are neutral; however, the way we respond to them can be either positive or negative.
Remember Job? He lost everything. By everything, I mean he lost his family, health and his wealth. Job truly lost everything. If there was ever a person who had a right to respond negatively to trials, it was Job. But Job said, “When God has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). In the New Testament, Paul wrote about the paradoxical element to our trials, he said in Romans 8:28, “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him…” That’s the paradoxical truth about our trials. Trials are NOT good, but God can make them turn out for good. Remember, Job did not laugh at losing his family, his wealth or his health, but he did look forward to God working it out for good.
James’ message for us is that when we face a trial, remember it is a paradoxical element, bad now but good later.
Think about it…and have a blessed day!
John Mark Caton, Ph.D