I have always been a bit uneasy with James 1:2 where Jesus followers are encouraged to
“consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds…”
When I find things in God’s word that are hard to understand I “camp” on them for a time and ask God to reveal His wisdom.
I taught four sessions at a weekend women’s retreat. One of the sessions included the wise counsel of 2 Corinthians 12: 9 & 10 where Paul tells us the words the Lord spoke to him when he asked about something that was deeply challenging him in his life. The Lord’s reply was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul goes on to say that because of God’s promise to be his strength right in the midst of his weakness, he can “delight in difficulties”!
“Delight in difficulties”! It’s a hard concept to teach especially when there are women listening who have faced difficulties far beyond any I have even come close to.
Yet I know God is not being trite in this. I knew there was a “power tool” for life in this teaching.
I quickly put the “count it all joy” verse and “delight in difficulties” side by side and saw an old truth in a new way …
God is not telling us that He is testing us to see if we will pass the test of faith. Rather He is telling us that the difficulty becomes the opportunity for God’s power to be displayed and for our perseverance to grow. The promise is that as we grow in trusting Him we will “lack nothing”. (James 1:4)
Perhaps it’s a bit like having built a boat, and when the water rises we get the opportunity to test out just how it works and find delight in the buoyancy and security of it.
The difficulty becomes the opportunity for God’s power, and my perseverance in trusting Him, to come together so that I will have all that I need to walk where I need to walk.
It’s pretty amazing stuff.
As I “camped” on these thoughts for a few days the Lord highlighted two other great truths from His word that dovetail with this whole idea of looking at all of life, challenges included, as an opportunity for God to be on display and for our own faith to deepen and mature.
2 Peter 1:3
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”
2 Corinthians 9:8
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Lord God, The challenge is often great to see difficulties as opportunities for Your power. Our own perseverance in trusting You can so easily slip when a new challenge is staring us in the face. Yet that is exactly what You have asked …. that we allow our weak points to become the very entry point of Your strength and power. Today, may our faith flourish and our thankfulness overflow as we face the day. May we rejoice in Your blessings; find Your strength entering in at our point of weakness; and may we receive all that we need to “abound in every good work”. Thank you that You do not call us to “simply survive” or “get by” as so many express today. But You call us to flourish, to find joy and receive Your power in our lives as we persevere in trusting You. You are amazing, Lord. With gratitude we pray this in the strong name of Jesus, amen.
By Gail Rodgers
Used by Permission