“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12 NIV)
This winter in Virginia has been somewhat unusual because of the extremely cold weather & more snow than usual. Cold weather often leads to increased pain levels related to various health concerns. During these cold temperatures, the pain related to my peripheral neuropathy has been quite intense.
As I was reading God’s Holy Word this morning, I was drawn to James message about considering trials pure joy. Sounds quite contrary to the way most of us (& especially me) perceive the trials we encounter in life-in fact, we strive to avoid these frustrations that get in our way.
It is the generous giving of God (giving wisdom without finding fault, giving the crown of life, giving every good & perfect gift, giving us birth) that moves us to holiness. Furthermore, going back to the very beginning of James’s message, this pursuit of holiness is not an oppressive burden but a task of joy, because of the great worth of the goal that God’s grace has made possible. God has called Christians to become mature & complete, as firstfruits of all he created. This is so high a calling & so valuable an attainment that we may consider even trials along the way pure joy!
We are conformed to Christ’s likeness through suffering. It is the potter’s h& putting pressure on the clay. If there is no suffering there is no learning. Christ called us to sacrifice & die to self in our lives. We find consistently throughout he scriptures that those who live godly are not promised prosperity & health or are kept from suffering.
Warren Weirsbe wrote, “Our values determine our evaluations. If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material & physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to count it all joy, if we live only for the present & forget the future, then trials will make us bitter not better.”
Christianity is not just worshipping God in the good times of blessings, but also in the valleys & the hardships. That is when Christ becomes the most real. That is Christ or shepherd of Psalm 23.
Whatever crowns we receive, whether they are literal or facets worked in our character as individuals, representing his glory, they are cast to the saviors feet, giving him the glory for all this was done or accomplished in our lives & others. The suffering we go through cannot be fully understood nor seen as beneficial now.
But we can rest assured it will all be worth whatever any of us went through. In God’s economy there is no waste. Let us learn to count it all joy just as Jesus did, for the joy set before him he endured the cross. It was all for us, so we can be with him, that will be eternal joy.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask for strength & Your loving care so that in times of pain & times of trials, we will remember nothing can compare with Your love & Your plans for us.
About the Author:
Patricia Armstrong is a retired elementary teacher of 34 years who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, & Harrisonburg, VA. Patricia & her dear husb&, Richard, will move full time to Harrisonburg, when Richard retires in 2 years. Patricia has been dealing with pain from peripheral neuropathy for over 12 years.
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