“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.” (James 1:1-4)
For a couple years I have been pondering why two people can experience almost exactly the same trial and one stays hopeful while the other becomes hopeless. Of course there are many answers to this question, but yesterday as I read the above scripture, a few thoughts came to mind.
In this passage, James is telling us we have reason to hope while we suffer because there is purpose in pain. Trials develop perseverance which then produces a mature faith.
Perhaps this is one of the qualities of those who are hopeful during tribulation, who see themselves as winners instead of losers in life: They do not view their trials as useless, a waste, or a distraction from the goodness that they could experience in life if only they didn’t have problems. They see them as a reason for greater intimacy with Jesus. They believe that through every trouble God is shaping them into a greater likeness of Himself. They believe in Romans 8:28.
They also know their trials have not been haphazardly given to them by God. Instead, they see their suffering as a very personal thing between them and their Lord; every trial they experience has been carefully filtered through the loving hands of Christ to mold them and their faith and mature them as He deems necessary.
Because these overcomers know their suffering is a personal thing between them and Christ and no trial is in vain, they do not grieve as those who do not have hope. Instead, they grieve in hope. They struggle in hope. They suffer, and they wrestle, and they cry in hope.
You may remember that my very good and beautiful friend, Maxine, passed away almost five years ago from cancer. I was amazed as I watched her submit to Christ in her suffering. Indeed, she suffered in hope.
One day she said to me, “I am not sure why, but I know this is a path I have to walk. I don’t know how I know. I just know.” Maxine trusted God with her life. She believed that no matter what happened to her that she was safely in her loving Lord’s arms.
What are you going through today? Are you grieving in hope, suffering in hope, wrestling, and struggling and crying in hope? Today, if even through tears, tell the Lord that you trust Him no matter what road He asks you to walk. Then praise Him for a growing faith that is more precious than gold (See 1 Peter 1:6-7)