“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” James 1:2 (NLT)
If we read this verse as a stand-alone suggestion, it seems impossible to realistically put into practice. Yet, if we read the context behind it in Scripture, it takes on an entirely new perspective and begins to seem — with God’s help — doable.
James wrote today’s key verse during a time where the Christians had allowed the frustrations and annoyances of life to steal their optimism and joy. But in their defense, these believers had a lot of serious and justifiable reasons to have a bad attitude.
They faced great persecution, unrelenting trials and sufferings — from murder to imprisonment — at the hand of Saul, who was zealous in his efforts to destroy the church and anyone associated with Jesus. As a result, these Christians were juggling an array of emotions, including fear, mourning, confusion, loneliness and even hopelessness.