Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2–4, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Sound a little bit perverse to anyone? Maybe throw in a little self-flagellation while we’re at it? Well, that would be entirely missing the point. The “pure joy” is not there for the “whenever.” It’s there for the “because.” We may not be “happy” about the “whenevers,” because happiness is most often dependent on circumstances. We can, however, have “pure joy,” despite the circumstances. But we need to let them “finish [their] work” if we want to become “mature and complete, not lacking anything.“
My Advice – The verse does not say “[if] you face trials.” We will, in fact, face “many kinds” of “whenevers” in our lives. Some will even be sent by God. Others permitted by God. All will be a “testing of [our] faith.” Whether or not we “consider [them] pure joy” depends on whether we allow the “because” to “finish its work” by persevering. It is worth persevering.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35–39, NIV 1984).
Now, if that’s not “pure joy,” nothing is.