The memory verse was James 1:2-3—
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because we know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
When James penned these words, he may have been talking about the great trials of religious persecution that the early believers faced. But, whether our trials are of literal persecution or the many petty trials of this life to the great struggles we endure, I’ve come to believe that all trials bring pain. And, I have seen many lately who are dealing with pain.
Some pains are transitory, as are many of the pains I hear about between high schoolers. Some, though, deal with illness and divorce which will leave an indelible mark, and then some trudge on through the aftermath of death—wondering how to adjust to this life without the parent that they so depended on. All are trials. All are in pain—and that endurance of pain makes sense of the ending of this verse that has at times been confusing to me.
I do not believe it is the trial itself that develops perseverance, but to whom we go when we are in pain.
Pain has a way of pushing toward God as our refuge or away from Him.
So, where do we go in times of pain? Do we wish it away—so much so that we reject the Comforter who waits for us? Or, do we go where we’ve always gone—the only place we really know where to go?
Pain should send us to our only Redeemer, the only One who can right the wrongs, comfort our sorrows, and bring us peace in the knowledge of His purposeful plan.
Then, and only then, can we consider our trials something in which to rejoice.