Bible Reading: James 1:2-4, NKJV
With so much uncertainty in the world right now, it’s easy to sink into despair. The 24-hour news cycle is filled with dire warnings from across the globe. Social media is inundated with worst-case scenarios, hatred, disrespect and bitter defiance.
As Christians, we tend to have more of an eternal view. However, even we get trapped in the hysteria, and lose sight of the fact that God is still in control. We substitute the truth of God’s Word with the last piece of bad news on the internet. We accept the prison of hopelessness the world provides, while forfeiting the comfort and peace that Jesus freely gives to those who trust in Him.
Think about your own life. It isn’t always clean and neat, is it? While many of us would tell the story of our lives in a linear pattern, the reality is that our experiences are more like an overwhelming number of intersecting lines. The ups and downs. The challenges and successes. The blessings and the struggles.
We get bogged down in something that seems insurmountably painful at the time, but then move on with life once that situation drifts into the past. We often remember the hard times, while forgetting the way that God worked in the midst of the difficulties to carry us through them.
In this world you can expect hardships, but also—much more importantly—victory!
The Bible tells us to expect challenges, and to grow in them. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2-4, NKJV). In the midst of a trying time, God is working and developing your faith and character for His glory.
Life is hard, and the pain we endure is very real. However, as we cling to the promises of Christ in the midst of the suffering, understanding “that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 1:6, NKJV), we have no reason to retreat. Instead of despair, we claim victory in Him who saved us!
This victory is not a momentary success, dependent upon the daily ebb and flow of life. It’s not tied to a disease, or to a lost job, or even to the death of a loved one. In a temporary world, the victory we have is eternal and unchanging. As Jesus said, “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22, NKJV). It’s the hope of Jesus in us!
Scripture Reference: James 1:2-4
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.