September 11 I Sunday
2 Corinthians 4
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds...” —James 1:2
As we face trials and storms of many kinds, do we consider it pure joy? In honesty, I have experienced difficult days in my Christian walk, which turned into weeks, into months and into years. During this season, I was taken to what I described as “God’s school of brokenness.” I had to come face to face with my own inability and come to the end of my own resources. The verse that I held on to during this time was Job 23:10, “When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
We can consider it pure joy because the testing of our faith produces a depth within us that we may not have experienced otherwise. James continues from the opening verse, “…because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4).
Caught in a storm on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, the disciples were learning a lesson about why they could have faith in the midst of the storm as they woke Jesus up from His slumber and He rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm (Matthew 8:26). One word from Jesus and the storm was made calm. The very calm that He had in the midst of the storm while He was sleeping in the boat, was spoken into the storm and everything settled. His Word brought about a sudden change in the midst of the circumstances. Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and wondered, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” Their view of Christ had just expanded, and their understanding as to whose presence they were in had just grown.
The disciples had a commanding knowledge of Old Testament Scriptures because they were taught them. They would have been familiar with Psalm 89:8-9 that goes, “Who is like You, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, You still them.” Who is the One that can command nature? Only the Lord God Almighty can. Jesus did not get up and appeal through prayer for the sea to calm; He simply got up and rebuked the storm by His own authority and power. If only the Lord God Almighty rules over nature and Jesus just demonstrated authority to do these things, then He must be Yahweh. Storms have a way of expanding our vision of Christ.
We can consider it pure joy to face trials because it is actually in those moments where we get to experience His life, His power, His resources at work in the midst of whatever we are enduring.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, I consider it pure joy that I can experience You through the trials and storms that I face in this life. Deepen my understanding of who You are. Thank You, Lord.