NT Connect: James 1:2-4
Weekly Reading: Genesis 41-45
Rejoice in Suffering
When we read the account of Joseph and his interactions with the brothers who had betrayed him, we can read and see quickly the good that comes out of it in just a few short chapters. For Joseph, I am sure that living in the affliction before he knew the outcome was a challenge. In our own lives, being able to connect this account and what James says in James 1:2-4 to our struggles also proves to be challenging to live out. When we cannot see the end game, we begin to get discouraged and doubt, but trusting that God’s purposes are always at work is part of our faith journey. The journey that began for Joseph as betrayal and prison ended with being able to save many lives because of what God enabled and gifted him to do. We can begin to see how our experiences, backgrounds, talents, and struggles can be used altogether to honor God as we trust in His Son.
We also begin to see how Jesus redeems our lives and even the brokenness and hard circumstances for His glory and our good when we surrender to His purposes.
James 1:2-4 states that when we encounter various trials we can choose to consider it all joy because we see that our faith being tested produces endurance in us. The perfect result that James writes about would be a result that honors God. So when we allow endurance to have its perfect result by learning and growing and not denying or hiding or running from God’s work in us, then we can become complete in Christ having all He equips us to have in Him.
Joseph named his second born Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Joseph endured much before he was able to see how God would use it to save others. We know already that Jesus is our salvation, and He endured much in order that we would have life in Him. Because of Jesus and His work in giving us new life we can choose to be fruitful even in affliction even when our feelings tell us otherwise. Afflictions come in many forms, and we all have varying stories, but we share one purpose in Christ: to glorify God and point others to Him. How can your afflictions produce endurance in you and then be used by God in you to shine the light of Jesus to others?