Can tough times bring good?

James chapter 1 v 2 says this: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”

What I say is “REALLY??”  But let’s think this through. Clearly extreme trials can all but destroy a person and need a lot of love, time and support sometimes for years to help the person get back on their feet, but for todays thought, may I gently and carefully continue for a moment?

We can learn a great deal about why patience is so vital by comparing the process we are going through to an artist sculpting a work from a piece of marble. Chip by chip over a period of time, an artist uses hammer and chisel to shape something from a raw slab of rock until the finished figure is revealed. God is doing much the same with us except we are living, raw material with mind, emotions, and the liberty to allow or disallow the Artist to continue. If we are impatient, not allowing the Creator to complete His artistry, we will never be perfect , never feel completely fulfilled. 

For powerful enriched living we must begin to cultivate the habit of thinking of life, including all of its trials, as being God’s opportunity to shape godly character in us and make us the best we can be. Through the really extreme trials some of us might suffer, He will be with us if we ask and this can be the most powerful comfort as we come to terms with whatever has happened. Inch by Inch He can carry us on.

James says we should count our various trials as joy! Why? Because verse 3 says that doing so produces patience! We need patience so God can mould us into His likeness. Even God cannot produce godly character without us. James is teaching us that we should not measure the experiences of life by their ability to please but by their capacity to make us into God’s image. If we have any vision – and a real desire to live as God does – we can accept, may be dare I say, and be brave enough to say,  even welcome our trials as steps in God’s creative process and meet them with patience and hope.

And finally, lets remember God has not removed Himself from our suffering but on the Cross actually became PART of it and this gives me a window into understanding that God is my helper in time of need because He does really understand.

Have a great week

Mark

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