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Andy Stanley: This Is What James Meant by ‘consider it pure joy’

What made Campbell unique in the face of his trials, Stanley said, was that he faced each one with the conviction that God still had him (Campbell) in his hands, no matter what the outcome of his medical battle would be. Stanley emphasized that Campbell was open to a miracle and believed God could perform one if he willed, but grew increasingly aware that the disease would mean the end of his time on earth. Stanley visited Campbell toward the end of his days and noticed a white board in his home with six commitments Campbell was striving to keep each day. Stanley describes them as follows:

I will walk with Jesus every day
I will be grateful and live every day to the fullest
I will bless my family with words, pictures, and videos
I will invest in my guys for their good and God’s glory, not mine
I will not give up and run out the clock
I will let people love on me

The commitments showed that Campbell’s faith, Stanley concluded, did not “reverse the consequences of living in a fallen world.” Rather, it “produced perseverance and courage in the midst of a fallen world.”

Stanley actually encouraged those facing a trial like Campbell did to “pray for a miracle” but implied that even if the miracle doesn’t come, an authentic faith would play out in the conviction that God still is who he says he is. 

If you are facing a trial, Stanley suggests praying the following every day: “Heavenly Father, use this till you choose to remove this.” Stanley also suggests asking for wisdom if you are having trouble understanding why God is allowing you to face such a trial. After all, James assures us that asking for wisdom is a prayer that God will answer every single time.