In June of 2020, my church was preparing to open at limited capacity due to the pandemic. We were so excited to be able to come together in-person again and spent the weekend before organizing and deep cleaning our building. However, at the start of that work week, I was informed that I had contracted the novel Covid-19 virus. Amid all the chaos of informing everyone of their potential exposure and to advise them to take extra pre-cautions, I felt guilty. Thoughts such as “I have caused this” ran through my mind as I sat looking at the imposing four walls of my bedroom in quarantine. As I pondered upon the change of situation, to myself and my church, I was reminded of James 1:2-4:
“ Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (NASB)
“Consider it all joy..” or in some versions “Count it all joy,” James’ first opening statement encourages us in the season that we are in. This is not to say that trials, in of themselves, bring us joy, but that we know the One who holds us through the trials. For we do not go through these trials alone but Jesus goes with us. We rejoice, take great pleasure, in who He is and that He is the one who holds our situation in His hands.
Secondly, James continues with “when you encounter various trials.” He doesn’t say “if you encounter” but “when.” “If” implies that the trials are likely to happen, but we know that trials are part of life on this side of heaven. They are going to occur. They are inevitable. So we should be prepared and not shocked when the trials befall us.
Thirdly, James writes that these trials test our faith to produce endurance. To endure means to suffer patiently. In turn, endurance means to have the ability to withstand hardship or adversity.[i] These hardships test our faith. These testing reminds us to hold strong to our salvation. In a season of comfort, it is easy for us to become complacent. The world begins to look friendly to us. But the adversity we encounter reminds us of the reason Christ came to die for us. He ransomed us from our sins and restored us to God the Father.
Lastly, the finished product of such endurance is that we will be perfect—maturing in Jesus—and lack nothing. Jesus has set us free from our sins, our past, and in Him we have life. Let us, therefore, look at our trials through the joy that He brings and endure through them.
As I sat contemplating through my Covid quarantine, one word remained for me and that is “endure.” In a season of unknown, shut-offs, and closings, have I become complacent? Was I just going through the motion just to get through the days? What I can truly say Covid taught me is that this is not a time to take it easy. No, more than ever, I need to endure through this trial because more than ever my faith in Jesus is being challenged. Challenged by the pandemic, challenged by politics, challenged by the world, and challenged by my own fleshly nature. Truly, in this season of testing, endurance is doing its work in me. I am still learning every day to look to Jesus—to be obedient. I am surely not perfect but that just means that God’s not done with me yet.
Therefore, sisters, I urge you all to endure whatever season of life you may going through—illnesses, financial struggles, broken homes, losing a job, spiritual dryness. Know that we should take joy in these trials because if we endure, at the end, we will be perfect and complete for Jesus Christ, and know that these are for our sanctification as Christ is the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). So let us endure these trials joyfully so that it will produce genuine faith in us and that Jesus will be glorified in our lives.
[i] “Endurance” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Accessed October 6, 2021. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/endurance
Pa-Chia Yang (N. Kx. Jerry Lauj)
Pa-Chia (N. Kx. Jerry) currently serves as the Communication Coordinator, formerly known as Media, for Alliance Women Ministries of the Hmong District. She is married to Rev. Jerry Lor. They are currently serving as the senior pastor of Central Pacific Coast Hmong Alliance Church in Lompoc, CA. In her free time, she enjoys working on craft projects and scrapbooks.