Joy In Suffering
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.-James 1:2-5 ESV
In the past few weeks I have been in what a baseball player would call a “slump”. Through various stresses with family and with my beautiful wife’s job hunt, I have just been burnt out. I have often thought to myself, “Lord, will you or won’t you take care of us?” When there is still no answer the next day, and with every rejection, I find myself falling deeper and deeper into the darkness of the unknown.
So why is the Lord not answering our prayers?
One particularly dark day I was talking with a brother in Christ, who happens to be my accountability partner, and he directed me to the beginning of James. After reading only the first few verses, I had my answer. Tears came to my eyes as I got down to my knees to worship my Lord for opening my heart to His truth. I am in these trials to produce steadfastness within me!
Not only did the Lord reveal His desire to grow my family though this time of trial, but also he does it for the work of making us perfect and complete in Him so that we may lack in nothing. All I really needed to do from the beginning is recognize the potential opportunity for spiritual growth, ask the Lord for wisdom, and stop worrying. Jesus asks us this rhetorical question, “Which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Matt. 6:27, ESV). How very simply I just needed to learn to have a deeper trust; a trust that extends beyond circumstances.
I want to end by posing a question that we discussed in our home group.
If you were to loose everything or nothing were to go your way from this point forward, would the sacrificial gift of Jesus Christ be enough for you to be joyful, or are you placing your joy in your possessions and circumstances?