It strikes me as funny when the Bible asks us in James 1:2 (NIV) to "consider is PURE JOY whenever you face trials of many kinds..." Being short-sighted and lacking the omniscience that belongs to God alone, we find it hard to see the beauty in diverse trials. As a ship in the midst of the storm it is difficult to see the calm that lies elsewhere on that very same body of water. But this is why I love the Word of God: in the midst of all kinds of pressures and pains and misunderstandings, we are assured that all these things are working together for our good.
In the same chapter of James, the next two verses reveal a marvelous truth:
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
This Word assures us that when we stand strong in God and face various trials head on, we are in the process of being made complete. This promise resonates within me, because I believe that I have more to offer. I'm seeking God and falling more in love with Him, and I pray that this process brings out the best in me. So that I may be like Jesus, who is the perfect and pure Example of perseverance and long-sightedness producing vast and glorious fruits. Hebrew 12:2 says:
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus looked beyond the cross and set His gaze on the joy of a redeemed human race. As He focused on the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross, knowing that the end result would have Him seated at the right hand of God once again. This verse also encourages us to fix our eyes on this strong and mighty Jesus, who is, indeed, the Joy that is set before us.
I pray that we will all reach our full potential by any means necessary. Individually and as the Body of Christ. I know that the church has more to offer this world. My heart longs to see her rise from every kind of trial and shine still...minister still...love still. I pray that perseverance will be developed in us all and as it develops, may we be made mature and complete, not lacking anything.