Notice in James 1:2 that he says “whenever you face trials” not If you face trials. It’s something we don’t like to face into or admit…that suffering will come. It has been my experience that with pain and suffering come great opportunities for growth. But pain and suffering also brings with it powerful temptation. Temptation to seek an escape, temptation to self medicate with sinful practices and addictions such as sex, overeating, drugs, gambling, people-pleasing, etc. It is within our human nature to try and avoid or mask the pain of trials. In fact, all our dysfunctional behaviors develop to end, minimize, or avoid present or anticipated suffering.
The Bible is THE book (and I have read many psychiatry books) about suffering. From the fall of man, Job and all the biographies, our spiritual separation from God, to Jesus’ extreme suffering, the Bible tells us how God is with us, provides a peace and comfort, and sees us through the suffering.
Today, think of trials as opportunities to demonstrate your trust in God…even thanking Him for them…this is one of the highest forms of praise. When suffering strikes (and you know it will) remember that Your Lord and God is supreme and that he can bring good out of every circumstance in your life. Do not try to run and hide from the pain…do not try and mask it. Let your suffering gain meaning and draw you closer to God. Know that Joy can emerge from what feels like the ashes of adversity…it will emerge through your trust and thankfulness to God. Click the Past Devotional link, tell us about your trials or suffering, how we can pray for you, how it affects you, and what you can believe differently about God or the Bible to get you through this storm.
Dear Father God,
Today I feel as if I cannot endure one more trial. I feel weak and beaten down. I’m tired of this pain and I need relief. I confess Father that I have turned to unhealthy and sinful ways to try and escape this pain…but it has only made things worse. I keep digging this hole deeper and deeper. I pray Father that You help me stop digging deeper and help me climb up out of this hole.
I pray Lord that You help me get closer to achieving the mind of Christ. Help me bear my adversity bravely and directly…and help me have a thankful heart even in the darkest hours. I pray Father that you use me to help minister Your Word and love to those within my path that are in the midst of a life’s storm. Help me guide them away from temptation and toward You…for You are the ultimate Lighthouse. I pray this in the name of my savior Jesus Christ – and all God’s people said – AMEN!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.