"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything".
- James 1:2-4
With the ability to gather back together in large groups, the situation might feel better and also harder at the same time.
There are gospel opportunities everywhere we look. At the same time we can, as a volunteer or paid ministry leader, be facing multiple challenges.
These can be tiring, trying, and deep trials.
In James 1:2-4, James lovingly reminds us that we are not alone.
At the very moment when we might be tempted to think the tiring, trying or deep trial is a sign of God’s absence, James gently reminds us of the opposite.
God’s grace has not left us and his love has not lifted from us. In fact, the news is far better and far harder.
In the challenges and trials, God is forging and forming our faith.
In the challenges and trials, God is growing a hardiness to our faith.
The text encourages us to let the Spirit do his work of seeing a hardy faith mature and settle into a well-rounded hope in Jesus.
James reminds us again, that what God is doing in us is as important (if not more so) than what he wants to do through us.
God is at work on our character and our competence.
In this season, when so many lights on our ministry dashboards may be flashing red, remember joyously that God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are lovingly using these trials and challenges to shape us, grow us, and mature us.