My discipleship group and I read James 1:2-4 this week. It reads: "Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For 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 strong in character and ready for anything." Does God expect us to truly be joyful in the middle of tough situations? Is that even possible?
Think for a moment about a tough situation in your life. Maybe it is recent. Maybe you are in the middle of it right now. It could be that you have done all you can over the past years to push it down and it is painful to even think about. James shares with us the hope we have when our faith is tested. Those tests can lead to growth in our faith and character. Here is the key though, the trial comes now, but the growth comes later. So where does joy fit in? In knowing that the tough things of today can lead us to a better, deeper relationship with God tomorrow.
Those afternoon workouts are hard. We struggle, we wobble, we sometimes want to quit. There are many excuses our heads create as to why we should stop or not show up at all. But I have seen the joy on the faces of people able to do exercises they could not back in September. They have realized the trails have been worth it and brought them to a better place physically. Do you believe that God is doing the same with you right now? If you are in the middle of a time trying your faith, do not lose heart, do not give up, do not stop trusting your loving Creator. He is there for you and is helping you grow deeper in your walk with Him.