Saturday, January 23, 2021

Pure Joy!

James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

The pain in my knee nearly crippled me.

I hobbled into work each day from the handicapped parking spot. My good knee, replaced a few years earlier, carried the other swollen and pain filled knee, as I lurched down the hall. Every day, I persevered even as the pain shot through me, because I knew hope waited at the end of my journey. In a few months, this knee would also be replaced, and I'd regain my ability to walk pain free.

Two years later, after enduring physical therapy and exercise, I've taken walks in the neighborhood, hiked in parks, climbed hills, and kayaked. I thank God every day that he led me to the surgeon who could heal my knees, and that I was able to carry on despite the difficulty and endurance required. The trial of pain led me to a time of thanksgiving and joy.

As a follower of Jesus, I've endured trials, some of my own volition, some put on me by other's choices. The one thing I've learned isif I curl up in a ball and hide, I accomplish nothing. But if I pray and move forward as the Holy Spirit shows me, the testing of my faith produces perseverance and maturity in my walk with Jesus. Without the trials of this world, I wouldn't understand the joy, peace, and hope that fills my soul.

No matter the circumstances, if I continue to open God's word and seek him in prayer, my faith will grow. But if I choose to hunker down in fear and hide, I'll remain stagnant in my faith, with little to give. God wants faithful followers, prayer warriors, Bible readers, and folks who share His truth. Those all come through perseverance and learning to grow in this world, despite the negativity and stress.

When trials come, seek Jesus and embrace the time to grow in him.

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