“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 in anything.” (James 1:2-4)
There are some seasons of life when it feels like you are pressing against the wind and you are running uphill at the same time. Nothing is more painful than to be on a journey with the wind buffeting your every move. Years ago, in the company of some close friends, we were making our way by motorcycles over the Columbia River headed toward Seattle. Though the morning began with a desire to eat seafood on the wharf, we found ourselves battling one of the most violent winds I can ever remember enduring…and on a motorcycle, at that! The gusts felt like they were over fifty miles an hour and the steady barrage of wind caused us to ride leaning heavily into the side winds…but seafood that night was the reward! We survived, but the memory of gale force winds lives in my memory.
James wrote to “consider it pure joy” when you face difficult trials of multiple kinds. Stop for a minute. How can you get happy over any situation which is painful in the least and terrible at best? Clearly, his focus was not on the irritant but rather the result. In other words, our minds need to be centered on what endurance produces in our lives. He describes it clearly. When our faith is tested, personal perseverance occurs and that results in spiritual maturity. So, that’s the word! Don’t focus on the trial or even the pain of a particular trial. By the way, trials don’t come without pain. Focus on the lasting result of enduring the trial in your life.
I personally would never want to ride into the wind as I did that day, years ago. The memory is still vivid in my mind as I write this. However, if I had to do it again, I would be ready and would not have any fear because I have learned how to navigate under such extreme conditions. Besides that, I have a great memory of enduring those miles with faithful friends who rode beside me. We did it together. So, today, whether your journey is solitary or you are walking through an unpleasant season with someone else, remember to look way ahead of today…there may be fresh seafood just waiting for you on the other side of the mountain!