This nine-letter word has taken up residence in my mind of late so it appears the Holy Spirit has something to say to me about it. Just maybe there will be a message for you too as you continue reading.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:2-4 NLT)
It seems this passage, or at least part of it, keeps cropping up in my daily reading lately. When I get to the fourth verse (last sentence), I sometimes break out in song to the tune of the popular song from Disney’s Frozen. (And you thought you were the only one who couldn’t get that song out of your head…not so!)
Let’s back up to the first of those three verses for a moment. Generally that’s the verse that causes me to stumble. When trouble finds us, which is a fairly common occurrence, we are to be joyful. Say what?? I can’t say that my first response to trouble even closely resembles joy. Nor my second or third for that matter. It is helpful to read the next two verses in order to see the bigger picture. Those two verses provide the explanation behind that somewhat odd suggestion in Verse 2.
I came across these words from Philip Yancey this morning when I tripped over this Scripture passage yet again:
“’Rejoicing in suffering’ does not mean Christians should act happy about tragedy and pain when they feel like crying. Such a view distorts honesty and true expression of feelings. Christianity is not phony. The Bible’s spotlight is on the end result, the use God can make of suffering in our lives. Before He can produce that result, however, He first needs our commitment of trust in Him, and the process of giving Him that commitment can be described as rejoicing.”
Has trouble come your way? Are you ready to put your trust in Him? The end result is heavenly!
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
As my capacity for physical endurance seems to be diminishing, I find comfort in knowing that a different kind of endurance is emerging.
Let it grow, Let it grow….(sing it)!