consider it all joy
when you encounter various trials
(Severe illness, chronic pain,
financial agony, loss of a job,
death of a loved one, marital conflict,
unremitting anxiety, unspeakable loneliness.
Really? There is something to rejoice about
in the midst of these?)
knowing that the testing
of your faith
(Yes, my faith is being severely tested.
‘Why, God?’ is my constant cry.
I implore. I weep. I entreat.
I doubt. I rage. I resent.)
(I do not want endurance.
I want escape.)
and let endurance have
its perfect result
(Wait. Something perfect?
What good could come of this pain?)
that you may be
perfect and complete
(Yes! Yes, I do want this.
I want to be perfect and complete.
I want to be like Jesus.)
lacking in nothing
(Not lacking in love, in joy, in peace.
Not lacking in patience, in kindness, in goodness.
Not lacking in faithfulness, in gentleness, in self-control.
Yes. I want that.
I want to lack in nothing.)
but if any of you lacks wisdom
(Yes. I lack wisdom.
How do I replace a desire to escape
with a desire to endure?
How do I exchange my sinfulness
How do I transform the dirge of trials
into the symphony of joy?)
ask of God
(I bring You my questions
knowing You are the Answer.
I bring You my doubts
knowing You are the Truth.
I bring You my anger
knowing You are my Peace.
I bring You my trust
knowing You are my Father.)
who gives to all generously
and without reproach
(I will turn my eyes away from my pain
and look to You.
Your love. Your goodness. Your faithfulness.
Your grace. Your providence. Your promises.)
and it will be given to you
(Now I can rejoice.
From the pain, You will bring perfection.
From the crucible, you will bring Christlikeness.
You are the Giver of joy
now and for all eternity.
You are worthy of praise.)