Difficult times are not something we enjoy going through. In fact, we usually try to avoid even talking about them. When trouble comes, the first thing we ask is why is this happening. If we are not cautious, we can easily be drawn into a full-blown mental, emotional and spiritual breakdown.
You would think as many of these storms that we have experienced, we would be learning how to handle them, but for the most part, we are just as shocked and confused as all the times before. Unfortunately, we just can't seem to realize the spiritual value of our trials and how there is a way to walk through them with peace, faith and understanding.
In the book of James, we find a passage that sounds like something someone would say when they cannot think of anything else, but in reality, it is a wise spiritual principal that can change the way we perceive our problems. Chapter 1:2-3 says, "My brothers, consider it all joy when you fall into various adversities; knowing this that the trying of your faith works endurance and patience."
If our journey was without adversity or tribulations and if we could always fix our own problems, we would not really need to pray or have faith in God. When everything is going smoothly, we usually do not worry about adjusting our attitude or evaluating the way we think. However, when we run into obstacles and life becomes difficult, most of us are not prepared and immediately become overwhelmed with worry and fear.
Some of our options include running from our difficulties or denying them, or confronting them the wrong way and making things worse, but our most favorable reaction is turning to God for help. When we make the decision to trust him completely, this will open up a brand-new way of comprehending what he is trying to do in our life.
James continues in verse 12, "Blessed is the person who is patient under stress and stands up under temptation, for when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to them that love him."
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that is demonstrated and developed when under extreme pressure. The word patience is associated with being steady, having composure, calmly enduring and tolerating delay while devoted to seeing something through to completion.
Sometimes when things are not going our way, we are tempted to take matters into our own hands, but it's good to consider that God desires for us to submit and listen to him even though it may not make sense to our emotions. This type of response is not learned instantly, but it's like a muscle that builds strength when it's used consistently. The more we allow Christ to control our thoughts, the more we will be like him. We can waste the opportunities within our trials, or we can embrace them and allow them to strengthen our faith.
The Christian life involves perseverance to develop an awareness of God's presence so that we might be transformed into his image. As we surrender our will to God and allow his character and nature to lead us, we will eventually evolve into the person he has called us to be.
Included in our yielding to his wisdom and timing is to have the desire and respect to bow before him in repentance and humility. This is where our human strength comes to an end and our spiritual dependence in him begins. When the Lord answers our prayers and gives us our miracle, it not only increases our trust in his ability but also fills our heart with confidence to know that he truly cares and is always with us whatever we are going through.
God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our life that includes a storehouse filled with spiritual abundance, but we can only advance into his peace and contentment according to how seriously we take our responsibility to become spiritually mature and eager to obey him.
Yes, of course God can deliver us from our trials and troubles, but our attitude has more to do with us listening than our screaming and crying. Joyce Meyer is quoted, "Patience is not simply the ability to wait — it's how we behave while we are waiting."
William F. Holland Jr. is a minister and chaplain based in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Learn about his free CD,"Keeper of My Soul," at billyhollandministries.com.