The Worst Scripture in the Bible
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
If someone had walked up to me this week and said that and if I didn’t know that was in the Bible, I would have punched them in the face.
Or cussed them out.
One of the three.
Or maybe all three. Who knows?
I admit it: I have a slight violent streak and I am an emotional being who wears her feelings on her sleeve. And yes, like the Apostle Peter, I too have issues at times controlling my mouth. (Lord help me. You KNOW I’m a heathen!!)
Those infamous words are in the Bible. And wouldn’t you know it, they’re in one of my favourite books of the Bible too. James.
It’s kinda like the Apostle Paul in The Bible Series when he’s ailing and dictating the letter to the Romans and states:
We...glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance… (Romans 5:3)
And just then Luke, Paul’s young companion, shoots him a side eye like “You fa real or you crazy??” But Paul isn’t phased. He signals for the young man to keep writing and says:
...and perseverance [produces], character; and character [produces], hope. (Romans 5:4)
It really does sound crazy doesn’t it? Especially since Paul had been beat down multiple times, imprisoned multiple times, and lost his life at the hands of those would not receive his message.
From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren… (II Corinthians 24-26)
Now thankfully most of us haven’t been through that kind of beat down, but maybe, like me, you’ve been through a spiritual or emotional one? (Let’s face it, who hasn’t? And if you haven’t, brace yourself, because you will eventually.) If you have, then you likely feel like I do.
Now let’s re-read that opening passage accept in The Message translation.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (James 1:2-4)
I stumbled upon a Lisa Bevere message recently in which she taught on this. And then I came across it again in my Chronological Bible reading. It’s the only thing I could read at the time because it was far too weighty in and of itself. And then my friend Charity shared the same translation of the passage on Facebook.
Gee, you think God’s trying to send me a message?? Just maybe.
In the words of Lisa Bevere, “‘Count it all joy.’ Are you serious??” Apparently God is. BeBe & CeCe make it sound real nice when they’re singing it, but living it is a very different story.
As opinionated as I am by nature and as much as I like to present you with the hardcore answers straight from the Word, I can’t.
I don’t have the answers for you on this one. I really wish I did.
But what I do know is that despite the severity of our situation, despite the hurt, the angst, the pain, and shattering of our very heart and soul, God has a plan. And if He said it in His Word, despite how unrealistic healing and joy may seem at this present moment, He gives us the grace to live it out. So with that in mind, I’ll leave you (and myself) with some final Scripture encouragement.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. (James 1:2-8 The Message)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
Be encouraged: even if we can’t see our end and even if we feel like it the end, God knows our end and it is not this!