Keep On Keeping On With a Smile

The office staff at mission headquarters in Guelph meets every Tuesday for devotions and prayer. During my few months there we were working our way through the book of James. I remember clearly the discussion on these verses:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" —James 1:2-4.

In a world of "instant" perseverance has gone the way of the dodo bird. We seldom ask God for perseverance to remain firm in in our faith in the face of a trial. We ask for relief as quickly and painlessly as possible. From what James says "quick and painless" is not the road to spiritual maturity.

Well, we say, at least give us an explanation of the reasons behind this trial and what the gains for us are going to be in the end. More often than not the heavens are silent on those subjects. It is not necessary for us to know the reasons behind what God sends our way, except that the events are all part of our journey toward spiritual maturity. More importantly, since faith is only evident where there no sight, our knowing all the details defeats the purpose. As Alfred Edersheim once said: "For God to explain a trial would be to destroy its object, which is that of calling forth simple faith and explicit obedience."

Trials are no fun. That makes James's statement about being joyful in the midst of them, a real challenge. To be joyful as we face illness, loss, frustration, hardship, is a "God thing."

During this week we'll look at a few more verses from James 1 to see how all this plays out. In the meanwhile, keep smiling—inside and out—as you face the trials that today will bring. And don't give up or give in the face of your difficulties. Perseverance may be painful but it will bring a rich reward.

Comments

  1. I know I've grown tons through my health trials. It may seem dark and gloomy and in my frustration I say God has turned away from me but in my heart I know it's not true. Thanks for sharing, Lynda.

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