“Dear brothers and sisters when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4, NLT
4th Sunday - “Adversity and Opportunity!
This letter written by James, the brother of Jesus, has special importance. It was written early in the Christian movement shortly after persecution by King Herod Agrippa, and before the Council of Jerusalem. Around 45-46 A.D., some 12-13 years after the resurrection of Jesus.
Many Christians who lived in Jerusalem and Judea fled to other parts of the region. James had to address a dispersed group of Christians, who had known Judea as home, and the place where their Lord had been crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. Away from home, the Christians were in a strange place. It was strange because of the times. Their lives had become unsettled and their fondest memories were shrouded in uncertainty. At times hope seemed elusive. To this dismal environment, James assured these believers that He was aware “trouble haunted them.” James knew that ‘trouble” in some form would meet these Christians at life’s crossroads. Perhaps unclear to them, but certain to James, the Christians were told to see their trouble as an opportunity for joy. This seems strange. Trouble and joy are usually incompatible. The Greek translation uses chara for joy, which means “to bring calm and delight.” The Message Bible says, “Consider it a sheer gift...when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.” We are more than the problems that confront us. The Old Testament scribes defined “trouble” as a [temporary] obstruction in the road. Our ancestors said, “Trouble don’t last always.” With every trial we have an opportunity to become more and better than what we are and were. There is no test that does not strengthen our faith! We’re perfected in every challenge!