Do what? Count it all a joy to have trials? Surely this isn’t what James is saying, or is it? The answer is that it is exactly what he is saying. Maybe this illustration will help explain.
A blacksmith, about eight years ago after he had given his heart to God, was approached by an intelligent unbeliever with the question: “Why is it you have so much trouble? I have been watching you. Since you became a member of the church and began to ‘walk square’ and seem to love everybody, you have had twice as many trials and accidents as you had before. I thought that when a man gave himself to God his troubles were over. Isn’t that what the preachers tell us?”
With a thoughtful, but glowing face, the blacksmith replied: “So you see this piece of iron? It is for the springs of a carriage. I have been tempering it for some time. To do this I heat it red-hot, and then plunge it into a tub of ice-cold water. This I do many times. If I find it taking ‘temper’ I heat and hammer it unmercifully. In getting the right piece of iron I found several that were too brittle, so I threw them on the scrap pile. Those scraps are worth about a cent per pound; this carriage spring is very valuable.
He paused and his listener nodded. The blacksmith continued: “God saves us for something more than to have a good time – that’s the way I see it. We have the good time all right, for God’s smile means heaven. But he wants us for service just as I want this piece of iron. And he has put the temper of Christ in us by testing us with trials. Ever since I saw this I have been saying to him “test me in any way you choose, Lord; only don’t throw me in the scrap pile.”
The next time you are faced with a trial remember this passage and exercise your patience.
The result will be a stronger you.