Lately I have been thinking a lot about difficulties; not the small difficulties, like the interminable time spend at the DMV, but difficulties that shake you to the core: health problems, financial problems, etc. I have noticed that we spend a lot of our time reacting to difficulties, perhaps most of our time. The ubiquitous nature of difficulties or trials begs us to ask the question - "what is the meaning of all of this?" or "what is going to come of all this?"
The Bible speaks to this idea of going through trials and what we can expect when we are going through and come through the other side:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James here gives us an encouragement that goes something like this: " find some solace in your trials because you will have something come from them, you will grow in faith and learn how to persevere through trials that will come." Trials are training. Even though God doesn't cause all of your trials, He can use them to strengthen you for other conditions in your life. We have a tendency (understandably so) to try to avoid trials, but sometimes they are imposed on us. We can do two things at once: ask God to take the trial away from us and also ask for courage to go through the trial and learn something from it.
It's not one or the other, it's
Father, Pastor, Writer