June 26, 2019·Julian Webb
I’ve always been amazed by how much our perspective can shape our reality. Undoubtedly, life can be filled with difficult times that are out of our control. However, our Creator has gifted us with the ability to be encouraged in tough times. I know, it’s easier said than done…
In this week’s Pause Bible reading plan, we are in the Book of James. In the first chapter, James writes a letter to Jewish Christians, but it’s very much a message for us today.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).
I love how James draws our attention to the effect of our stretched faith, instead of focusing on how hard things may be. Although I tend to find the silver lining in life’s smaller hardships, it gets exponentially more difficult when we are met with serious challenges. However, I’m reminded that the Lord is more interested in building our character than our comfort. God never promised things would be easy. He did, however, promise He would be with us in hard times.
If we truly want to grow as disciples of Jesus, we must not only accept the process, but find the joy in the stretching as well. The parable of the wineskins, in Mathew 9, paints a perfect picture of this for us. Joy, and new life through Jesus, is a process that will shift our perspective from the temporary things of this world to the eternal (Colossians 3:1). There, our joy is found. Even in hard times.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial…” (James 1:12).
Remembering that God’s presence is always with us, lets us pray for His peace and joy in the midst of our trials.