Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. This is a chronic illness, meaning there is no cure. My symptoms have been extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sun sensitivity, and the most recent is sores inside my mouth. Thankfully, these symptoms are not always present! I am on medications to help the symptoms, but I still have flares periodically where I feel really bad. Currently, I am on the up swing of one of these flares. I have had many people praying for me and I am so grateful, because this past flare up was extremely hard for me!
This is my trial that I am to consider pure joy. Wow! It seems crazy, but God commands it. I know that the suffering I may have in my body is NOTHING compared to the suffering that Christ endured for me on the cross. God has been reminding me this week to put my suffering into perspective.
I don't know of anyone who likes to have trouble come their way. However, if God allows it, there must be a reason! James says that one of the reasons is to develop perseverance, which leads to maturity and being complete.
Dictionary.com defines perseverance as "steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement".
What is my course of action? My course of action is living a life as a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ! My purpose is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. My goal is to consider it pure joy to suffer through this trial called lupus. I must look at the bigger picture! No, I don't think I will ever enjoy suffering. But in the deepest part of my heart, I must learn to consider it joy to be facing this trial.
I know other trials will come and go in my life. I will strive to consider them joy as well! Remembering God's purpose in them is to develop me into maturity.