“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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
Suffering is not usually welcomed in our lives. We don’t usually begin our days by asking for hardships to fall on us, and when suffering inevitably comes knocking on our door, our attitudes are usually far from joyful. Yet suffering can be considered and viewed as an opportunity. Pain, hardships, and problems that usually do not evoke joy can be used an instruments to build trust and faith in God.
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, suffering and its ability to shake our lives can in turn help us to build a stronger and unshakable faith. Similar to the muscles that build your body, faith must also be built up. If you are familiar with working out, you will understand the concept of wearing down muscle to build it up to be stronger than it was before. Likewise, when your faith is tested, it in turn builds perseverance. This is what James is referring to.
Bearing your circumstances and suffering with perseverance and joy can also be praise to God. Imagine thanking God for your suffering and viewing your hardships as an opportunity to build your faith. The concept seems so foreign to us. If we’re honest, most of us view minor inconveniences like the end of the world on some days. But by transforming our mindsets from “woe is me” to a mindset of praise, we will grow in our faith and become mature.
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.”
When you’re facing suffering of any kind, turn to this verse from Psalm 107. Remember that God’s love is never failing, and he will not forsake you in your suffering. Thus, your suffering can gain new meaning and draw you closer to God the Father.
Help transform my mindset. Rather than succumbing to fear and despair, help me to embrace my hardships as an opportunity to grow. Help me to always remember your unfailing love and to view my suffering as opportunity to come closer and more complete in You.
In Jesus’ Name,