Welcome to Welling for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing. We’ve been in a huge series– a long one because it is semi-biography, a matter of joyfying life, optimizing trials. 

I did not want to only present to you principles not born from life but infused with my own attempt to live out what I’m sharing with you. Over the last several months, I was entrusted with a special health challenge. The reason why I actually got into this passage of James, chapter 1– to joyify life, to optimize trials– so I could live this passage, to test this passage, and then to share this passage with you. 

But it’s not just me. It’s many, many people who have gone through massive trials in their lives. Even as late as last night, I had a young man who was filled with hurt as he shared about some of the material challenges that he was facing. The world itself has gone through major trials, and crises will never stop. 

In the early 2020s, I used to spell out COVID as a world of complexity and opposition and volatility, isolation and disruption. Is there a way to go from complexity to coherence, even connectedness? From opposition to opportunity, from volatility to vision? From isolation to innovation, implementation, from disruption to direction? 

Whether you’re going through the previous spelling of COVID or this new spelling of COVID, you’ll find that you need the very wisdom of God to turn these circumstances of trials and tests and troubles and tribulations into triumph– joyifying trials of optimizing life. That’s the entire theme of the first part of the book of James, where he is calling for a particular way of meeting the realities of life. 

These matters that we’ll never escape as long as we have this lot called the earth, and there is no real permanent solutions in sight. And yet, we can joyify them. We can optimize them. In an experiential knowing, not just theoretically or academically or intellectually, but with wisdom– receiving wisdom and applying in life an applied knowledge, an applied theory, an applied theology during this earthly process. 

So in our concluding episode, I want to give you three summary points. Optimizing means to really go through a system that God has set up, and here it is. Three summary points– one is that trials are trials. They really are trials. They cannot be interpreted in any other way. To call trials anything less than trials is to have a magical view of life. Trials are trials. 

You can joyify them. You might remember from one of the early episodes, I gave you a logic of trials– of inputs being trials, of activities being joy– considering counting them joy. Of outputs being endurance and outcomes being maturity. And the final vision, of course, is perfection. So trials are trials. 

Second, wisdom is wisdom. This is particularly unique to Hebrew gifts, and who is it, of course, who is not looking for wisdom? Something that we will need all our life for the sake of endurance, of perspective, of vision, of ability, of stability. You as a faithful follower of God– you believe in God without doubt, in faith– not with a quantity of faith, but a quality of faith. 

You’re saying, God give me wisdom. He says, yeah, I’ll take the volatility, the uncertainty, the complexity, and the ambiguity of a VUCA world and turn them into vision and understanding and courage and action, as another person spelled VUCA. 

We can meet them with joy because we meet them with wisdom. It’s a faith-based joy, just like there’s a faith-based wisdom, in a faith-based prayer without doubt. You can’t have life without trials. Now, there are great stretches of time that we go with our trials, but whenever we face them, it is simply a reality and feature of life. We’ve got to have Gods wisdom. 

So trials are trials, wisdom is wisdom, but then we’ve got another part of the summary. God is God. In 2 Chronicles 20, the king is praying, God, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. Is that how you’re facing life today? We don’t know what to do. But guess what, our eyes are on God. That’s the only way to optimize life. 

Our Judeo-Christian conviction says that there is no immunity from suffering, no guarantee from suffering, but there is a guarantee of God in the middle of the suffering. Trials are not filled with joy, but you can joyify trials. So joy relates to what God is to you and how He gives you the strength to endure and how He turns things and matters into purposes for His glory and your good. 

So whoever requires wisdom for trials, which God gives to all who endure for maturity, ask in faith. Ask in faith without doubt. Don’t go about creating trials, but meet them. Greet them. Receive them, say farewell as quick as possible to them, but in the middle of greeting and farewell, we don’t have to be anxious, but we have a God who gives and gives and gives, who’s generous and gracious and gives you the strength to carry on. 

That’s the joy counter. The joy counter is also the faith asker. Those three– trials, wisdom, and God– have another triad– prayer, faith, and wisdom. Those three go together. 

We call them a strained consistency. There’s a thickness distribution across prayer, faith, and wisdom. The thicker the prayer, the thicker the faith. The thicker the wisdom, the thicker the faith. The thicker the prayer, the thicker the wisdom. The thicker the wisdom, the thicker the prayer, the thicker the faith. 

So always leave room for trials, for growth, for understanding. But remember, however, that you have a God who takes you with wisdom through these trials so you can be all, as one commentator said, God wants you to be. Not all that you want to be, but as God wants you to be– whole and healthy, with integrity, just like God is filled with integrity. With identity, because you derive your identity from God, and your function. 

God is God in your life. Ultimately, that’s the only way we can joyify life in your relationship to God. We don’t minimize His character, His ability, His purposes, but c So ask in faith, without doubt, and you will be a joy counter, life optimizer. 

Trials are trials, wisdom is wisdom, and God is God. So ask in faith, without doubt, and you will have the staying power to endure towards maturity and completion. Joyify life. Optimize your trials.