How many of us long for a perfect life – one with no problems or issues, with everything going our way? A life with no sickness or disease; one in which we have our dream job, with all of our bills paid and plenty of money left over. Maybe your dream is having the idea spouse, and straight-A students with perfect manners and behavior; or an athletically gifted child, or one that has a beautiful voice, or shines on the stage of their drama club?
We each have our definition of an ideal life. But if we had the life we dream about with no problems, where is the need for God in that? I know when I’m facing a really tough situation, I find myself praying longer and harder than I would on a regular day.
When things are going well, I tend to just go on about my day with my routine prayer time, instead of the way I passionately seek the Lord when facing a challenging situation. If there is a major issue in my life – whether it’s with my marriage, my kids, finances, health, or any of those big hitters that bring us to our knees throughout the day, there is a fervency and the intensity that accompanies those kinds of prayers.
Maybe our problems are a way for God to stay in touch with us to make sure that He has our attention? When we get to a point that things are going well for us, we may start to feel like we don’t need Him as much anymore. We falsely think that we can handle things by ourselves, and we push Him to the background in our lives, until the next time we face trouble and need Him again.
But He longs for us to engage Him on the small things in our lives, even those things we feel we have under control and don’t need Him for, He still wants us to seek His direction.
The next time you complain about a new problem you have to face; I want to challenge your perspective – what if we viewed each problem we face as another chance to trust God?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3 NIV
Joy when hard times hit? How does that make sense? I’m not saying you should be happy about facing tough times. Joy and happiness are not the same things. Happiness is an external feeling, that changes with our circumstances. I describe joy as the internal contentment and satisfaction I have knowing that God is in control of my life, even when I don’t like how things are playing out. When I remember that He’s in control, it allows me to release my worries and fears.
I think this scripture means that joy should come from the building of our faith, and the strengthening of our relationship with God. Our troubles give God the opportunity to develop us.
What if each trial we face means we’ve graduated to a new level of faith, and the opportunity to go deeper in God? And just like a video game gets more difficult after each level is passed, each trial is a new spiritual level for us to overcome.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4 NIV
The testing of our faith develops endurance and strength, especially for the next problem we face. Each trial develops maturity and completeness so that we are not deficient in any area. The trail of experiences we’ve faced in our lives is part of the path God designed that leads to our completeness.
Remember that movie Jerry Maguire, and the famous line, “you complete me”? Many people are searching and wishing for someone or something to complete them. But the truth is, there’s nothing on earth that can complete us.
The completeness we desire is through that path full of trials, challenges, and difficulties, but it is all required for us to reach our destination. As Believers, it’s important to note this scripture doesn’t say “if” we face trials, but rather “when” we face them. So, if we are not already in the middle of a difficult situation, we should be expecting one to come.
Take a moment to think about all the trials God has brought you through. What level of spiritual difficulty are you at today? As you think about your current situation, take joy my friend! You have been promoted to the next level. And once you reach the top, you will be complete, lacking nothing. Amen!
The next time you face a difficult situation, choose joy instead of the many negative emotions that come from tough times. Remember God is working on you through your trial.
When everything is going well in life, remember to continue to spend time with God and continue to seek Him for direction and guidance. That’s part of the maturity He is developing in you.
PRAY WITH ME:
God, thank you for each trial I face. I don’t enjoy the experience, but I realize they are needed for me to stay connected to you. When I find myself in an unfamiliar situation that I have no idea how to handle, help me remember to go to you first, knowing I can trust you to bring me through. Help me to keep my joy through the difficult times, knowing that you are with me and developing me so I can be complete in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Feel free to respond in the comments section… and share this story with someone in your life that could use the encouragement.
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