"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:2-4).
"Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions" (Hebrews 10:32-34).
When I read those Scriptures, I realize that I am such a wimp when compared to what God has called me to be. I do not approach trials and persecution with any sense of joy, never mind "pure joy." Even as I write this, I am fighting off another virus. My temperature is between 100 and 101 degrees. I have missed more church services, Bible studies, and work this winter than in the past 10 years combined. And I'm whining about it.
What would I be like if I really had problems? What if I had serious health issues? What if my job were in jeopardy because of my faith? What if I faced problems like those faced by the original recipients of the letters of Hebrews and James?
I'm convinced that I need to grow in this area. I need to be prepared to face such problems as serious persecution. I need to learn to face difficulties with joy. I need to develop a tougher faith in Christ, a faith that faces challenges with peace.
I'm convinced that the inerrant Scriptures hold the key to developing such strong faith. I know that the Holy Spirit has been given to comfort believers...I will need his help.
I'm not who I need to be yet, but with God's help, I will change.