Your life isn’t perfect. My life isn’t perfect. Everyone, whether they know Jesus or not, will have trouble because we live in a fallen world. James knew that everyone who read his words would have suffering at some point in their life. But he also knew that God could use those trials to teach us. James wasn’t necessarily saying to take joy in the pain itself: he was advising us to find joy in the results of the pain.
Merriam-Webster’s defines “perseverance” as “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.” As a Christian, I want to display a continued effort to draw closer to God, serve Him, and tell others about Him. Through hard times, God is refining us so that we can better serve and know Him. Romans 5:3-4 confirms this: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
This year I’ve had a lot of health problems. It’s been difficult to take joy in the endless doctor’s visits, my constant weariness, and feeling sick at work. But as a result of my sickness, I’ve developed an acute awareness of how wonderful heaven will be. My hope has grown stronger, just like Romans 5:3-4 says. I have also learned in many little ways that God keeps His promises. He will help me persevere when I feel that I can’t. Trusting Him through this illness will help me have faith to persevere through other trials later in life.
When bad things happen to us, God has a way of using those hard times to bring beauty out of ashes. He can teach us through tough circumstances if we are willing to learn.
Lord, thank you that you can bring about good even through my troubles. When bad things happen, help my faith to be strong. Help me to persevere and draw closer to you. Amen.
What are some current trials in your life? Write down a list and then put it away. In six months, take it out and write down the results of the trials, noting what God taught you through them.
Photo Credit: Teddy Kelley