James tells us that we are to be joyful in the midst of our suffering. What kind of system of belief is Christianity? Is it possible to find joy in the midst of suffering? Is this something that is optional where maybe we find joy 10 percent of the time and the rest of the time we claim an injustice? What does James mean and how can we possibly have a perspective of “joy” in the midst of suffering?
We might think that we cannot relate to what it must have been like for Israel to be in exile. The reality is that James greets the church as a group of people who are in exile. We might think that this life is a waste because it does not measure up to what we want. We need to listen to James who is laying out for us that this life probably will not meet our expectations because it is not supposed to meet our expectations. So, why follow our God then if this life will not give us all that we think it should?
There is a famous statement that you do not want to put all your eggs in one basket. The point is that if you drop that basket it breaks all the eggs leaving you with nothing. So, it is wiser to distribute your wealth across different baskets. If this is true then why worship one God? It would seem to make sense to worship a variety of gods to cover all basis? Why is it wise to worship one God and live your life in light of HIs promises?
When we face trials in this age the last word we think to describe them is, “joy.” When we face those trials we generally pray for strength, healing, grace, or any of the above. However, James tells us to ask for wisdom. Why would we want wisdom to get through a trial? I thought wisdom was the thing that you gained after a trial.