This afternoon, my mother and I were discussing our negative attitudes regarding some of the trials and frustrations we have been experiencing lately. Momma said that she recently heard the story of the man who wrote the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. An Irish man, Joseph Scriven's engagement ended on the eve of his wedding when his bride-to-be was thrown from her horse into a river where she struck her head and drowned. Scriven eventually made his way to Canada where he lived out his faith by helping the poor and ill in the community. Eventually, he fell in love with a Canadian woman and became engaged. However, this woman died of pneumonia a few months before they were married. And yet the lyrics to this hymn show that despite such intense experiences with tragedy and sorrow, Scriven was a man who understood that true fellowship with Jesus comes through sharing in His sufferings as Paul wrote in Philippians 3.
But in all honesty, I really struggle with considering it pure joy whenever I face trials of many kinds like the apostle James talks about in his book. Rather than welcoming hardships, I usually pray for them to go away as soon as possible.
Thus I was very convicted by something my mother brought up during our conversation. She wondered aloud if as Christians our aversion to hardship, pain, trials, and suffering comes from us being lovers of ourselves, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).