Perseverance in times of Struggle

James 1:2-4

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.

Do you know those people who always seem to have a smile on their face? They seem to have a cheerful outlook on life, even as things around them might be falling apart. I often wonder how those people live their life like that! I admire them in one way. But on another hand I think, “Are they in denial about what’s going on?”

Then I read this verse from James and think, No, these people just have a great amount of faith. They know that life isn’t supposed to be easy. It can be unfair. You can be dealt a “bad hand.” But guess what? You get through it. With faith, with a good attitude, with support from others to keep you going, you get through your trials.

Testing our faith develops perseverance, according to James. I hear the word perseverance and I always picture a soldier going through bootcamp. Or a runner racing to the end of the finish line. I suppose I picture something physical like this instead of mental. But we know most of our “trials” in life are mentally and spiritually demanding, too. Like when we lose a loved one. Or lose a job. Or having difficulty in a relationship.

All these trials will test our faith. How will we approach this test? With a joyful attitude like our friends in Christ? Or with a poor and “life is unfair!” attitude?

When I hear the word perseverance, I also think of another scripture verse that I love.

Romans 5:3-5 (New International Version Translation)

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

So we exult or rejoice in our sufferings! Those are our smiley joyful cheerful friends. And that has to be us too. Why? Because when we get through this trial, this challenge, this difficulty that we are facing, we produce perseverance, and character and from all of that comes what? Hope. Love that little 4 letter word, don’t you?

Fit in your Faith Today: What’s the latest trial you are facing and how is it testing your faith? What are you doing to persevere through? Does it help to know that after all is said and done, you will develop your faith even deeper? Put on a cheerful face as you tackle your latest challenge, knowing the finish line is someone who is, as James says, “complete and not lacking anything.”

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