James 1:2-4 says,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. 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.”
There it is – the E word. Endurance.
Frankly, I would prefer another E word. Easy.
I wish this walk with God was pain free.
But suffering is something we are told to expect. “In this world you will have tribulation.” Most of Jesus’s followers were martyred or exiled. We are supposed to “take up our cross” – not exactly easy.
But “consider it pure joy?” Really?
The truth is if I have a mere head cold, I am out of sorts and feeling quite sorry for myself. When I feel any pain, emotional or physical, I want it to end. Fast.
I heard a pastor once say he is a Christian because of the book of Psalms. Here you find pleas, laments, praise, admissions of fear coupled with surrender. No offense to James, but there is no, “Thank you for these trials in which I will learn endurance.”
Recently at Community Bible Study, Mary shared that her niece wanted to start reading the Bible but didn’t know where to begin. Mary recommended she turn to the book of Psalms. This was not the response I expected. (Most would say, the Gospel of John.) But now I see the wisdom in that.
When we need a dose of hope, confidence, strength to endure, we can open the Psalms. My Bible contains a list of which Psalm to read when you are experiencing all that life throws at you.
So back to that E word. In theory I DO want to develop endurance – even if that entails going through trials.
I just need to work on the considering-it-pure-joy part.
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