The term, “first responder” was coined by the media during the 9/11 attacks as a verbal short cut. So many different agencies and ranks were involved in rescue on that day that the term proved very useful. But the downside is having no clarity on which services were in charge on the scene. The life-sustaining aid they give are important enough to be reported with more detail about who they are! The training and help they give as a “first response” saves lives.
Today’s verse talks about a response to all kinds of trials and difficulties that does not usually come first! Believers are to look at their problems not as a punishment, a curse or bad luck. The one belonging to the Lord is to consider or regard each trial as something positive. There can be joy when we can see past the problem to the perseverance that is being produced in us. The testing of our faith comes through the hard times, especially those that we “fall into” unexpectedly.
Of course, joy is not my first response to tragedy. But after long careful consideration, it can be. It is usually well after that negative experience that I can see how God used it in my life. I can esteem something as a joy when I see my faith become stronger as a result. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2). I want to see the joy that is set before me as well and so be able to endure with perseverance whatever He allows.
Lord, help me see the joy ahead!