Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles 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.
James 1:2-3, NLT*
Yes, these are the same verses two weeks in a row. What makes them such treasures to me is they’re not just for the huge troubles that life occasionally sends our way. They’re for the little trials and stresses too, even the things we might think are too minor to bother God about.
One night last week, I was late making supper and my husband had to leave promptly afterward. My family can tell you this is not a new state of affairs. It always stresses me, which tightens my muscles, inhibits my thought processes, and generally slows me down. And it makes me cranky.
But I’d been reading the first part of James 1 for almost two weeks by that point, and it was sinking in a bit. In the middle of “where did the time go, why am I always behind and I wish I could learn to do better,” I caught myself wishing I didn’t have to deal with this so often.
Wishing the trouble would go away.
Forgetting to see it as an opportunity to grow.
That stopped me and shifted my focus. Instead of fretting, I chose to say “God, thank You for this chance to learn to rely on Your strength and not my own. Thank You that this is an opportunity to practice living by faith.”
I kept praying. And working.
Calm replaced the frenzy, supper preparations went better, and my sweet husband even had time to eat his meal without rushing. And I think the whole family appreciated not eating with a frazzled cook.
God who saves us, who loves us too much to leave us in the sorry states you found us, thank You for how You patiently grow us. As much as we sometimes wish You’d just zap us and make us perfect, strong and whole, we know Your way of training and building us up is better. It grounds us in You, and it will last. Thank You for loving us.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.