Why isn’t life a little more perfect? We all know that we don’t, and can’t possibly, live in a perfect world. Even Jesus warned us in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.”
That doesn’t stop us from dreaming about that perfect world, does it? Our hopes climb and there are good times, but just when we think we have found the end of the rainbow, life with its perpetual parade of problems, comes along leaving us discouraged and defeated. We slide right back down to the bottom of life.
As a young woman, I thought all trouble should be dealt with one way… RUN! ESCAPE! Find a way out! We feel crushed because so often we find ourselves “under our circumstances.” We will do anything not to be there.Back then I certainly couldn’t find anything good about problems.
It’s funny how God can change our perspective.
Consider these questions as you read the scripture that follows:
1. What are these particular verses saying to me about my personal problems?
2. What are the good things that can come out of my problems?
3. How can I handle my trails and troubles without getting discouraged?
4. What does God promise to do in my life in spite of my problems?
Scripture Reading - NLT:
James 1:2-42 Dear brothers and sisters,* whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.
How in the world can our problems be an opportunity for joy? The trial itself certainly won’t be much fun, so there must be something more to this opportunity to find joy in our pain.
Let’s take a look beyond our problems to the possibilities.
Consider: What kind of opportunities might come out of trouble?
In verse 3 of our scripture reading we see that our faith is tested when trials come to rip us away from trusting God. It seems that whenever something bad happens we want to blame someone else, don’t we? Most of the time, that someone turns out to be God. We run to Him with our “whys”. We stop trusting Him because we are hurting and angry and frustrated. However, instead of being upset with God, we need to recognize the opportunities He is placing before us with our trials.
1. Our endurance, our patience level will go through a growth spurt.
I have a little more respect for patience these days, because there was a time in my life when I didn’t have much. Life and the trials that have come my way have taught me that my impatience wasn’t changing my circumstances, it was just making me more miserable. I have learned that if I can patiently endure my problems, trusting God and not leaning on my own understanding of a situation, then He can work much better in them and in me.
2. When endurance or patience is fully developed ( and as it is developing) we will be stronger in character.
That’s exciting news! In my ministry with women over the past 25 years I have seen one of the biggest issues that we deal with is our disappointment in ourselves. Women today are plagued with low self-esteem, which stems from our not being happy with ourselves. We all want to be stronger in character. Trails come to help us get that way. We learn though running away or trying to find a way out of our problems, that all those quick fixes don’t work and the affects don’t last. If we run to God, He uses our trials to make us woman of holiness, integrity, sensibility, patience, kindness, joy and peace. We begin to see within ourselves the very character of Jesus.
3. We will then be ready for anything!
That’s exciting news! There is nothing like going through a trial and realizing you’re okay. You have peace that you don’t understand and you are actually looking beyond the problem to the possibilities that might come out of it. You find yourself trusting in the Lord with all of your heart. You’re okay with the fact that God is in control and He has promised in Romans 8:28 to work all things for good for those who love Him. You are excited that God is using your circumstance to mold you into the women that He created you to be.
Dear Lord, thank You for using my circumstances, whatever they might be, to help me to be more patient, to develop my character and to prepare me to be ready for anything that comes into my life. Lord, help me resist the urge to run or panic or fuss or fret over things I cannot change. Help me to see my problems as possibilities. Father, please help me to remember that my “light and temporary problems are nothing compared to the glory which is to come.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. Holy Spirit, please help me to have a clear perspective on life and its problems so that I can let them be opportunities for joy. Even if I don’t live in a perfect world I have a perfect God who loves me. Thank You, precious Lord! I love You, too…
Declaration of Truth: (speak out loud with faith, believing in the power of the Spoken Word into your life.)
“I declare that God is using my circumstances to make me into a woman of character and I will live in the center of joy because of my faith in Jesus Christ, who works all things for my good, because I love Him.”
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Thank you, Teresa, for sharing your wisdom with us. It's so true...many "trials come to rip us away from trusting God." Life is such a process, and for many, it takes years to get to #3, but whenever we get there, it
makes all the trials seem worth it. And if trials are the only vehicle to get us to a place of patience, trust and integrity, in reality, we truly should welcome them, with joy!