Consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James wrote to the early church which had been dispersed and was facing difficulties. He encouraged them to see their trials as a means for God to develop perseverance and maturity in them. He recognized that God was using their trials to strengthen them so that they would be complete and not lacking.
Trials can either make you bitter or make you better. My mother-in- law told me this after her second adult daughter died. She told me that we have the choice to allow God to use it for our good, or to allow the enemy to use it to destroy us. I will never forget her holding up her arm and telling me that losing her children was like losing an arm; it would never grow back, but the other arm would grow stronger.
Peter, writing to the persecuted church, describes what God has available to us as we face our trials, saying His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3) Through the trials that we endure, God gives us His power, but this power is available to us only through our intimate connection with Jesus Christ. He is the vine and we are the branches – a connection that enables us to receive His nourishment and power. Apart from Him we are powerless. I have a cordless vacuum, and if I do not charge it, it is powerless and useless to me. We live charged with God’s power when we stay connected to Him.
Are you going through trials? Remember that this is an opportunity for God to make you better, not bitter. It is an opportunity for Him to give you His power not only to endure, but to change and be more like Him. I do not look forward to the rough times in life, but I always know that God is at work in the midst of them.
Help me to use this trial for Your glory. I ask You to give me perseverance so that I will grow to be more like You. Help me to draw from Your power as I stay connected to You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen