Dear church family,
Again it is my honour to be writing to you all. This week I’d love to provide some encouragement from the book of James. This book probably has to be one of my favourites in the Scriptures, its practical, it's to the point, and it's only 5 chapters. It’s essentially Christianity at its core.
The verse 1 want to focus on come from chapter one. It's linked to the idea of suffering and perseverance. During this season we might be struggling, we might be suffering, but our faith gives us perspective and hope. I love the christian understanding of suffering. It isn’t something to be avoided as some might think, bur rather embraced. Suffering grows our faith, and strengthens our character. It moulds us into the person God wants us to become.
I know this might be hard to hear, but as I reflect on life, some of my greatest learnings came from my toughest challenges. Those hard times where it seemed impossible were actually growing points for me. I probably learnt my biggest lessons there and it actually allowed me to trust God so much more.
Here’s what James writes to us in chapter 1:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] 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.
How crazy, consider it pure joy when you face a trial? In what world would I consider a hard time, a moment of suffering to be pure joy? It sounds ridiculous. Yet this is what James writes. Its because suffering is linked to perseverance, the ability to keep going even when times are tough. Being able to do this in turn allows you to build character, to build resilience and become more complete as a follower of Jesus.
To give you an example look at the process to make Fine China. It starts out as a piece of clay, it moulded and shaped into what you want (bowl, mug, plate etc.) its put in the kiln at 2000 degrees, taken out, sanded and shaped a bit more, put back in the kiln, taken out, sanded and painted, and then again put back into the kiln. It’s only after this process that it comes out looking all fancy to you. See we often want the result of process, without actually going through the steps of the process.
See in order to develop some godly character we’re going to have to go through some things. Right now it might seem like a season of suffering, but what if we embrace this moment and use it to grow and mature our faith. I know it might not be easy, but its definitely worth it!
Hope this encouraged you.
Peace and love to you all.