1 Samuel 2:22–4:22; James 1:9–18; Psalm 119:17–32
Conflict drives fiction and riveting movies, but if we had it our way, we’d live stable, stress-free lives. We might crave the excitement or change of a vacation, but we rarely welcome an unexpected complication. So when James says to “count it all joy … when you meet trials of various kinds” (Jas 1:2), we are tempted to dismiss his perspective as something that works on paper but should not disrupt our real lives.
James shows us how to internalize a faithful response to unwelcome conflict. He starts by describing a negative reaction: When difficult times come, we might be like the person who prays and then doubts that God will provide him with wisdom for the situation. This person complicates the conflict by internalizing it with uncertainty and doubt. He is “like the surf of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed about” (Jas 1:6).
The irony is that, although we only create more conflict when we doubt, we…