Verse: James 1:12 NIV
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
So here we are again, speaking of such joyous and yes, blessed things as trials. (Is it strange that when I read blessed in the Bible, I always hear it with the pronounced ‘ed’ – bless-ed – anyway, I digress!) James is talking about those who continue to have faith during trials and that they will be blessed because of it. I learned a lot about faith growing up in my home. My mom was a woman of Faith, yes, capital F Faith.
My mom became a Jesus follower in her teens, and from that point on, Jesus was her true North, and she has this unwavering belief that no matter what, He is there, and will help her through whatever is happening. My dad left when I was 9, and I know it rocked her, she had done the right things, been who she was supposed to be, and now she had to be someone who wasn’t my dad’s wife. I’m not sure that she would say this, but I believe that I saw her come into even more of her identity being who God had made her to be. She trusted God with our lives, she didn’t always have enough for bills and food, but she knew that God would provide, and He did. She didn’t have the funds for a car to get us to school and her to work, but she knew that God would provide, and He did.
Time and time again, God would provide just in the nick of time what was needed, and my mom, at least outwardly, never faltered in her faith that the God she served would be enough to sustain our little family of three. My mom has been diagnosed with five autoimmune diseases. She has prayed for healing since I was 12 years old, God hasn’t chosen to heal her, but her faith has not wavered. She still serves a good God. This is the legacy that she has given me of true faithfulness in the good and in the hard times.
Now for the most part, I would say that my mom has joyfully, or at least with some semblance of peace, dealt with her trials and lived in her state of faithfulness. I on the other hand, walk out my faithfulness a bit less gracefully. I know that God has the best for me and my family, but I think I push and try my way more than my mom really ever thought about doing. (Remember in the obedience devotional when I said that I don’t learn lessons very quickly? This might have something to do with it 😉) It’s also not easy in the trials to always have faith. It’s a choice each day to choose faith in God instead of (insert whatever negative emotion could fit your circumstance).
What I love about how James writes this verse is that he doesn’t say you have to be joyful about it, or peaceful, or graceful, or any of those things. I love that we serve a God that is big enough for our questions, our fear, our anger, our frustrations, our anxiety, our worries, and anything else that we have bottled up inside, and they don’t disqualify us from being faithful. We’re not called to blind obedience, we’re called to relationship with a real God and there will be real life difficulties that we will go through. But when we choose the path of faithfulness, we don’t go through them alone, we go through them with the maker of the universe. Talk about stacking the deck in our favor.
Hebrews 11:1 says that “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for and to be certain of the things that we cannot see.” So, the root of faith is hope. I will be the first to tell you hope is hard and it can feel unsafe because when you hope, there is a chance for loss, but if you never hope for anything, what life are you really living? This verse was everything for me during a long trial in my life, so much that I have half of it tattooed on my arm so I won’t ever forget to hope and I won’t ever forget that faith is worth it. So, what is God calling you to hope for today, what can you choose to be faithful in today?
Father God, I pray for all of us who are in the midst of a trial right now, Lord I pray for your hope to come into our hearts and take root and grow into a faith that you have us and you have good plans for us. I thank you that you love and care for us and are with us even when we can’t see past our current circumstances to the other side, You provide a way.
Author: Candice Gifford