Transitions can be very tough and if they’re not made in today’s world, it’s called an adjustment disorder. James writes as a Jewish man who knows that. There he was, a half-brother of Jesus, learning to get over any stereotypes he may have had of Jesus and surrendering to Him, as Lord.
It’s always tough to accept changes within a family when one member rises to an unexpected position. But James whole modus operandi changed after the resurrection of Jesus. As one example, see his thinking changing about trials in life.
Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For 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 strong in character and ready for anything. James 1:2-4 NLT
Right off the bat, this alone is enough to sour people on the book of James. But it gets even worse! He says the rocky road we travel on our journey to maturity is to be one of joy.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily have a great deal of joy when I’m going through difficult times. This whole idea of joy when facing trouble sounds a little crazy. I can understand the idea of not letting troubles destroy us, but to consider it pure joy!? That can seem like a little much.
It’s not natural to think this way. But James isn’t saying we should have some kind of superficial party when adversity comes, or that we should plaster a fake smile on our faces and look religious to the world when we’re hurting deeply inside.
But he does encourage us to consider letting it be an opportunity for joy, because something very important is taking place for our benefit.
The phrase, “…whenever trouble comes your way…” was used of a young bird, whose wings were being tested: like an Eaglet being pushed out of its nest.
I’m sure the eaglet would love watching a video about flying, or learning about the details of swooping down on fish, or gathering information about lift and trajectory; all from the safety of the nest. But real life doesn’t work that way. When the hard times hit us, it can feel a lot like a helpless eaglet that’s been kicked out the nest by its mother.
But trials, James says, are not to make us fall but to make us fly; not to make us stumble but to make us stand and not to defeat us but to make us rise to victory. So let it (faith) grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.
If we don’t mind this gap and change our modus operandi to James’ view of trouble, what could happen? Any thoughts?