Want to hear the understatement of the century?
Life is hard.
I think we always have at least one challenge coming up against us at any given time. Sometimes, though, they come at you from all sides and you feel like they’re moving in so close and squeezing so tight that you’ll be completely crushed beyond all recognition if you don’t get yourself out of there. It’s tempting to just cut and run.
That’s where we are right now. It’s not an impossible place by any means, but we’ve got a lot on our plate, and while it started out full of what we chose to put on there, it now has a bunch of stuff piled on top that we never wanted. It looks unappetizing, and suddenly we feel like children, staring down a plate of cold Brussels sprouts, after everyone else has left the table.
I read something yesterday that really resonated with me, and it will you, too, if you’re in this place. (Heck, read it and hang on to it, because even if you’re not in this place now, you will be.)
You see, left alone, that’s just what trials are: robbers. Takers…They steal your security, dignity, dreams and sometimes your spouse or friends. They board your ship and “pirate” the gold meant to be yours on the shore.
Unless you’re in Christ.
Trials don’t get to steal from followers of Christ unless we hand over the goods. In fact, they’re commanded to give goods to us if we’re willing to receive them.
Robbers or reapers, it’s up to us.
~ Beth Moore, James ‘Mercy Triumphs’ Bible Study
I think we all get the ‘robbers’ part, because that’s sure what it feels like, but what could we possibly be given from trials? Well, this…
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. ~ James 1:2-4 MSG
Or another translation:
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 NIV
I know that sometimes perseverance seems overrated and, hey, can’t this just be OVER ALREADY? But I want us both to see this:
- Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
- Continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.
Did you see it? That last definition? “Continuance in a state of grace leading finally to a state of glory.” I don’t know about you, but that blows my socks off. We’re only extended true grace through the Ultimate Grace Giver, so if we are soldiering on in a state of it, we are doing so in His strength. And it will be to His glory and our ultimate good. And that, my friends, is what trials give to us…a maturity and strengthened faith to handle the next round even better.
Life is hard. But I’m thankful for the choice, today, to be a reaper and not let my trials be a robber. Maybe today’s the day for you to make this choice, too.
I have this written in my Bible that helps to get through the hard times:
Happy Moments-Praise God
Difficult Moments-Seek God
Quiet Moments-Worship God
Painful Moments-Trust God
Every Moment-Thank God