Have you ever been on a scary roller-coaster ride? Your blood pressure is up, your heart is racing fast, and your stomach is feeling wheezy! In the midst of the thrill of it all, the joy is in knowing how it will end … as you safely return to terra firma. Life can be a lot like that. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, moments of stress and moments of peace. The joy is in knowing what’s ahead.
Jesus’ brother James puts it this way:
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. So let it grow, for when your endurance is a fully developed, you will be a perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4. NLT
James tells us to consider it an opportunity for joy when we face troubles and trials of various kinds. Why? Because we know that the testing of our faith develops endurance. Endurance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
What we need during this time is “wisdom” – an ability to see and respond to life’s situations from God’s perspective. Ask God and he will give it to you generously. When you ask, believe and don’t doubt. Doubters are like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Double-minded unstable people won’t receive anything from the Lord.
1. You can’t be mature without having a spirit of endurance that refuses to quit or give up. This enduring quality is the mark of maturity. Once you have this, you are complete, not lacking anything. Immaturity demands for everything to go well all the time and for no delays!
2. The only thing that produces this kind of endurance is the testing of our faith. Things like delays, contradictions, unanswered prayers and disappointments. Untested faith will not develop this important quality.
3. Therefore, we should so value endurance that we consider it a joy when we go through troubles that test our faith! Joy is only possible if we keep the end in mind (Hebrews 12:1-2), just like that scary roller coaster ride. The joy comes from knowing how it will end!
4. What we need during these times is “wisdom” – seeing and responding to life from God’s perspective. Thankfully, God offers to gives us plenty of it if we simply ask him. But don’t doubt when you ask.
5. Always pray and ask in faith without allowing doubt to settle in your heart. Doubting people are double-minded and unstable. God doesn’t answer this kind of person’s prayers.
If you’re feeling afraid or uncertain right now, hang on. God is in control and he is holding you in the palm of his hand. He’ll give you all the wisdom you need. Simply ask him for it.