Perseverance is worth celebrating. Whether it is a graduation, a retirement, an anniversary, or a birthday the most common reason people throw parties is to acknowledge perseverance. Even weddings in a sense are a celebration of future perseverance, cheering for the marathon runners at the starting gate. So it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to connect joy and perseverance, but James 1 adds another factor between joy and perseverance, trials.
Read James 1:2-4
Trials seem much less joyful, although the logic of these verses is very clear; sticking it out through the difficult times is not simply about making it through, but about coming out the other end improved. The first time I went grocery shopping with Justus as a baby I told Matt that I was more proud of that accomplishment than my Master’s degree. In fact there are many elements of parenting that I more proud of than my higher education because being a parent has been much more challenging. My education required a great deal of drinking coffee, reading interesting books, and having thoughtful discussions; being a parent has required much more sacrifice and in three short years has already made a huge impact of redirecting my priorities.
What parts of your life have been the most difficult? How have you been changed by difficult situations?
Our faith is a muscle, and it order to strengthen it we need to work it out. A muscle left unused becomes increasingly weak. Constant rest does not yield strength, quite the opposite in fact. When we are faced with struggles we should see the joy in God helping guide us to being a stronger person instead of asking him to take each trial without having to face it.
What trials have you faced and how have you been improved?
Light the candle of Joy (the Pink one)
Pray, “God, we thank you for being our strength and support through good times and bad. Help us to face trials with joy knowing that persevering makes us better. Use us to radiate your joy no matter what our circumstances. Amen.”