The brother of Jesus says it best.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1:2-3 (ESV)
A Trump or Clinton presidency could happen. And it could mean that Christians, and a lot of other Americans for that matter, will face trials of various kinds.
More unconstitutional wars.
Less religious liberty.
While we should do all that we can to fight against these things, we must not lose hope, even if we lose a few of the culture battles. That’s what separates Christians from everyone else. When someone who is not a follower of Christ faces a trial, it usually results in anger, despair, apathy, self-centeredness or some combination of the four.
Not so for the Christian. James tells us to respond to trials with joy. Now that doesn’t mean that we have to laugh when President Hillary decides to give a few million dollars more to Planned Parenthood or President Trump starts a war in our streets or the doctor tells you that there is something terrible wrong with your body and he needs to operate to figure out what it is. What it does mean is that we have to remember that suffering for the Christian is a sign that Jesus is working on us.
Have you ever seen a kid who had an easy childhood? You know, the type of kid who never had to have a job, never had to take out the trash and never had a bedtime. For the most part, those kids are miserable. And when they grow up, well, they’re still kids.
Some of the happiest people I know had extremely difficult childhoods. Some of the hardest laughers I know are also the hardest workers. Resistance leads to growth. It’s true in the weight room, in the voting booth and in the hospital room. Nothing worthwhile is shaped in comfort. Completed masterpieces got the way they are through a lot of cutting, molding, burning and pressing.
You are no different.
When the TV preachers promise you a life of absolute comfort and no suffering, what they are really selling you is a life without maturity. That’s because maturity doesn’t happen without heartache and suffering.
So maybe things aren’t looking so hot for our country. Or maybe your trials of various kinds have nothing to do with presidents and more to do with your own broken body or a broken marriage or a child who just can’t seem to get it together.
Count it all joy.
Not because your suffering isn’t as bad as you think it is. James isn’t telling us to look on the bright side. What he’s telling us to do is to look to our Father. He’s telling us to look to the future.
Christian, whatever trials you are facing are evidence that God is working on you. He’s not done with you yet. He is growing you. He is making you stronger. And he will see you through to the end.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 (ESV)