As we enter this New Year, we do so with some uncertainty. Though we know Who holds the future, we do not know what the future holds. We do not know what this year will bring, but like years past we suspect it will bring not only good times, but some bad as well. There will be times of ease and times of difficulty. At times in 2016 we may experience the gentle warm breezes of calm and comfort while at other times the harsh stormy winds of difficulty and suffering.
The difficult times of hardship the Bible calls trials (James 1: 2-4). These trials sent by God to try our faith come in many shapes and sizes, intensity and length. But they are all sent for this purpose: that we might be perfected! God is at work in those times to make us the kind of people He desires us to be. Through the pen of James, the Holy Spirit commands us to “Consider it all joy when we encounter various trials.” Joy does not seem the appropriate reaction to trials until we understand that God brings the trials to make us more like His Son, Jesus. Perhaps, now at the start of this year, we should seriously consider this God-given instruction from James that we might have the right focus… not if…but when trials come.