Written by Erik Gernand
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” – James 1:2-3
There are seasons of life that require something extra from us. I remember a particularly difficult time in my life when I had more plates spinning than hands (and feet!) to hold them. I was in the first few years of marriage, in my first ministry position at a church, had a new baby and was building a house. To top all that off, I was enrolled in seminary courses trying to complete my M.Div.
There were “trials of many kinds,” to say the least.
I’m sure you know the feeling. Many of you are struggling to work towards your degree, work responsibilities, and family obligations. I get regular opportunities to pray for you as you juggle these things – and I’m so thankful for that opportunity whenever you reach out for prayer.
And yet, James tells us that these difficult times can serve as incredible growth opportunities for us in life. “You know,” he says, “that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” When you’re bone tired, your brain is toast, your eyes are heavy and you find yourself asking, “Can God get me through this in one piece?” these are the moments that produce determination, staying power, tenacity and the ability to welcome delayed gratification.
There is no shortcut to these incredible qualities of character in the human person. They only come through the testing and development of the trials of life.
So, wherever you are in your life, hang in there. There are qualities of character being produced in you during these days that will carry you through many future challenges. James’ next line after the quote above is this:
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:4
May it be so with you.