Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lessons in James: Power in the Pain

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 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. James 1:2-4
"WHEN troubles come..." Lesson: troubles WILL come! They cannot be avoided.


Each and every one of those troubles, trials and temptations contain within them the "opportunity for great joy!"  Lesson: The pain in our lives carries with it the potential for great joy. I emphasize potential and opportunity because God does not promise that we will find joy in each of our trials; he only offers the hope that joy is there waiting for us if we are willing to take it! The way we react to our circumstances will determine whether the experience is a joyful one or an excruciating one. The choice is ours!

When my kids scream and yell, when everyone is sick, when parenting with patience seems like an impossible task, when my own struggles with anxiety and depression seem to black out any chance at joy I could ever have again, I MUST remind myself of this warning and this promise. I have to honestly ask myself, "Am I trying desperately to avoid 'trouble' in my life and reacting with anger and bitterness when it comes anyway? Am I missing the fact that God may be giving me these trials for a purpose? What opportunities am I missing when I clam up and attempt to just shut my eyes and 'make it through' with clenched teeth and white knuckles, rather than opening up and allowing God to work in the midst of the pain? Have I asked God to give me joy through it, not in spite of it, but because of it!?"

And not only are we offered JOY, but we have a great opportunity for GROWTH through the struggles in our life, growth that is necessary in order for us to become "perfect and complete" as Jesus is perfect and complete!

What it really comes down to is, how much do I really want to be transformed into the image of Christ? How badly do I want to be like him? To please him? Do I want it badly enough to honestly say, "Whatever it takes, Lord!"? Or do I only really want to grow as much as my comfort will allow?

The Christian walk is an Olympic marathon! It takes great endurance, great focus, and honestly, great pain in order to be done right and done well! But, oh, it is a pain with a purpose, loved ones! Don't run from these precious opportunities in your life! Opportunities for JOY and for GROWTH, that ultimately fill your life with POWER, the power of a great and mighty God who KNOWS what it is to hurt as you hurt.

Take comfort in that truth, beloved, and keep your eyes fixed on the day when we will all finally be "complete, needing nothing!"

No comments:

Post a Comment