James 1:2-4 Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line – mature, complete, and wanting [lacking] nothing.
Divorce from my wonderful, godly husband has never been an option because God brought us together and has seen us through many difficult times. But I have to confess that there have been times when I wanted to escape from the chaos at home caused by my stepson’s mental illness – those tests and hardships James speaks of that happen to be part of my life.
The end of this verse above contains a treasure, the gold at the end of the rainbow. If I persevere – James even says if I embrace them – God promises that He will equip me to handle the hardships and lead me to a place in my life of maturity and completeness, lacking nothing. So I can have what I need to get through the hard stuff now and even greater things in my life in the future. I am not sure that I am able yet to embrace them, but I have been able to persevere, even if sometimes it was like trying to plow through a blizzard.
Priscilla Shirer, in her book Fervent, says, “He will use any measure to help us and grow us, even if it calls for the temporary pain of those measures. He wants us to know we can trust Him even with difficulty and discipline, or with the unavoidable happenings of life on a fallen planet because He promises to work ‘all things’ together for our good and His purposes (Rom. 8:28).”
So there you are. The tests we go through are not random but actually have purpose. Isn’t that encouraging? God hasn’t forgotten you. He knows all about what you are experiencing, and He will be with you all the way, bringing you to completeness. And as He does, He will begin to reveal the bits and pieces of His purpose in your life.
We might not see the whole picture until we get to heaven, but until then we can rest in His promise that our faith will “blossom under pressure” and will see us through the hardships of this earthly life.
Persevere. Find joy in the journey.