Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12


Today, we venture into age-old questions like, why do bad things happen to good people? If God really loves us, how come he lets horrible things happen? Starting to understand the fullness of the gospel helps us answer these questions and realize why God allows pain in our lives…

 

 

It’s easy to love God when he just gives us what we want, right? But how about in trial? In difficult times? Do you trust God and cling to him, or blame him and run in the opposite direction?

We can actually find joy amidst hardship when we decide to run to God with it. God doesn’t just redeem the whole world; but he also redeems the pain in our individual lives. That means our everyday pain, to our seasonal pain when we experience prolonged loss and defeat. He brings goodness, growth, and guidance into our lives out of the toughest of trials. And these are the very things that give us steadfastness, or perseverance… because it’s during these times that we can draw nearer to God and become more mature followers of Jesus.
 

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

James 1:2

 

Consider the questions below and spend some time answering them in your own quiet time:

1.     In difficult times, do you find it hard or easy to draw near to God? Why?

2.     What are some things you do to cope with hardship?

3.     What trial(s) are you facing right now? How may God be using this to shape you and build your character?

4.     How have you seen God strengthen you as you reflect on past trials?

5.     Amidst hardship, it’s easy to lose sight of the good in our lives. James 1:17 says that every good and perfect gift is from above. What are you thankful for today? Make a “Thanksgiving” list of these people, places, and things!