Facing trials and challenges are unwelcomed realities all of us experience! Nor do we like having to exercise patience – well, that’s how it is for me. I don’t like waiting!
Carla and I are waiting for our new grandchild… we’ve waited now for seven whole days! That’s right, our Natalie was due to give birth to her and Josh’s first baby a week ago. I’m told Sunday will be the day labour will be ‘brought on.’ Why do I have to wait! Grrr… You know how it goes.
Of course there are worse things one has to be patient about. Like healing from illness. Even completing studies for some people is very challenging. Or having to wait for the job market to pick up. Or waiting for that promotion at work. Relationship challenges. Annoying neighbours. Barking dogs. Aphids on your plants. Let’s face it, there are so many things in life we find annoying and just plain hard to deal with!
Then you go to church and the guy at the front reads a verse from the Bible like this one:
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
We hear these words and they just make us feel guilty. From feeling frustrated to guilty! Oh woe is me. I’ll be honest folks, I have these times… and I’m often the guy up front treading these verses from God’s word.
Let me encourage us all to settle back and think this through. What truth can we learn here? What is James saying to us that can help us face life’s trials and challenges?
- Faith is like muscle tissue – if you stress it to the limit, it gets stronger, not weaker. So, we can choose to learn and grow in faith during the trials we will face in life, or we can complain and not grow in faith. It’s a choice we make. Let’s listen to some more of James: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)
- God will help us in our times of trial and challenge, but we must ask. That means we must lift our focus from self to Him. Look to God when asking for help. So often we keep looking at self when facing trials and challenges. James goes on to say we’ll be rewarded for staying the course when facing our trials. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
- God promises us the crown of life – ie: eternal life with all its abundant blessings.
Wow! James helps us put our waiting, trials, challenges and frustrations into perspective doesn’t he? Without minimising the reality of our trials, James tells us to take them to God. So, please don’t feel guilty… feel encouraged and let’s do what James says.
Maybe the baby will come tomorrow?