James 1:2-3 says “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” As we near the end of our fast, maybe you feel like your faith has been tested. Whether through the pressure of giving up certain things or the enemy taking advantage of this season or just life smacking you upside the head, you may be feeling like trouble cannot stay out of your way. When we deal with trouble, we can have a tendency to keep our eyes on the problem. Our eyes begin to search for what’s wrong, even in places where there may be nothing wrong. It draws our head further and further to the earth until we make the choice to simply stick our head in the sand and hide away.
But James gives us another choice. He says that trouble is, in fact, an opportunity instead of inevitability. We can be joyful even when trouble finds us, and even Jesus assures us trouble WILL find us. But trouble is not an occasion to hang our head or fix our eyes on what’s troubling us. It’s a testing ground for our endurance. What do weight lifters do when it’s too easy to lift a weight? The answer is: they add more weight. When trouble finds us, it stretches us so that our faith is increased, not lessened. And like a weight-lifter, we have the opportunity for massive gains. Not in our muscles, but in our perseverance, our faith, and our pursuit of Jesus. Let’s finish this together and finish strong, because we know that we are growing together!
Written by Pastor Frank Yazvac