Our theme for this month: “Character and Integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-5 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Some problems can’t be solved they can only be managed.”
My favorite verse in the Bible pertaining to endurance and not giving up during tough times is Galatians 6:9, “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” I love that verse because it is so upbeat and full of promise. If we hang in there and don’t give up, good things are going to happen. I think I can do that! With the knowledge that something good is headed my way as a result of this trial, I can hang in there. I will lean into this thing, slug it out, push through it, and come out the other end the winner!
But that seems to assume that this trial (whatever it is) is headed for a successful resolution. Sometimes that is the case. But not always. Some problems don’t get solved. Instead they have to be managed. Some problems are long-term, or even lifelong, and therefore no matter how long you hang in there and gut-it-out, you aren’t going to come out the other end of this tunnel to find the sun shining, the birds singing, and everything right with your world. What then? How do you handle that?
For the answer we turn to James, the brother of Jesus. His advice in James 1:2-5 seems a little raw compared to Paul’s in Galatians 6:9, and it cuts a little closer to the bone. There is no promise in this verse that the trial is going to end any time soon, or even at all. There are no lollipops or gumdrops in this picture.
Instead James tells us that learning to endure and persevere in times of trial helps to develop our character and it strengthens us spiritually. His lesson is that you will be a better, stronger, more mature Christian as a result of learning to live joyfully and victoriously with your trial, even if that trial turns out to be long-term, or lifelong.
Trials and tribulations come into every life. Most of them are short and easily resolved. But some of them are long-term or lifelong. Some of those trials will be your own, and some of them will belong to a loved one such as a spouse or a child. In that case it’s still yours because you have to walk through this with them.
Some problems can’t be solved, they can only be managed. This is such an important truth for Christians to grasp that we need to come back to it again tomorrow.