“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4
Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of the famous evangelical preacher Billy Graham, has been through many trials recently. In the past three years, she has lost both her father and her husband in addition to being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Despite the wave of pain and loss, the 71-year-old teacher has stood firm in her faith. “The Christian life… [is] more than just a checklist of do’s and don’ts. It’s a relationship that’s vibrant and alive and it’s sufficient to carry you through the hardest things.”
During a recent interview, a reporter asked Lotz “how she found joy in the midst of her cancer journey.” She said that the joy actually “never left me.” When asked how she was feeling overall, Lotz explained that she was grateful:
“It’s been a rough year but I tell you what: The Lord has been so faithful. And I look back on this year and what stands out is not the pain and the suffering and all that. It’s the blessings of God. He has poured out his blessings to really balance and take the sting out of all of that. So I’m very grateful.”
Anne Graham Lotz is a perfect example of today’s Bible Quote. She retained her joy in Christ when she went through “trials of various kinds.” As she wraps up her cancer treatment this week, Lotz reflects on what God has shown her: “God has given me promise after promise throughout this treatment.”
God has made her aware that through the “testing of her faith” with cancer, she has learned to focus more on God and what he is doing in the moment. On October 1, her new book Jesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion is being released, in which she walks the reader through her journey with the Holy Spirit during troubling times.
It’s important to note that James uses the word “when” rather than “if” at the beginning of verse 2. As a Christian, we will experience trials in our lives—whether self-inflicted or not. Seek to depend upon the Holy Spirit to help you focus on what God is accomplishing in your heart rather than the actual circumstance.
What we go through in life, our sufferings and pain, are a means to an end—that end being our sanctification and a closer walk with Christ. “Counting it all joy” is not something you can do in your own strength. It must be accomplished in you by the One who is far greater than any pain we can experience.
The trial will pass, but God’s love endures forever. Rest in this truth.