Suddenly at the age of 28 I understand how important it is to endure. I had this really nice discussion with friends last evening about enduring and how there is very little we can do in the face of troubles and problems. The conversation was triggered by a verse in James 1:2 – it goes like this: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various [c]trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [d]endurance. 4 And let [e]endurance have its perfect [f]result, so that you may be [g]perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Endurance is an important part of our lives and even if we want to shrug it or run away from it, you can’t, it will follow you until you learn to perfect the art of endurance (which according to the passage is through faith). I was wondering how true and applicable to everyday life this verse is. I was walking to my workplace and realized that a lot of time people make distress choices because what other option do they really have. Let’s take a very simple example here: A guy who is working extremely hard at his work place but due to some obscene reasons can’t help but falling into trouble, maybe trouble with boss or colleagues or he simple doesn’t’ know (in today’s lingo) how to swing with it. Whatever the case maybe the little guy is exhausted both physically and mentally and tired of the everyday drama. He closes his eyes to say enough is enough and suddenly sees his little girl playing in the park, his lovely wife looking at her tenderly and his aging mom seated on the park bench. What does he do? He endures this hell he is going through and from it draws a new strength to go on no matter what. He makes up his mind to move on as this life is apparently not about him. This is our shortsightedness.
If we look at the verse once again, word by word this time, it breaks down in three parts:
1) Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials
All joy or as some bible states- Pure joy (one possible only in God) is what are emotions should be when we are faced with troubles and pains.
2) knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result,
The ability to take in more blows, the ability to handle pain and react to the trouble at hand in the right manner is important here. I can take all the pain that is thrown at me but if I scheme against another to take my revenge or be spiteful in my words or vent out my vengeance on someone completely innocent, have I endured it well? I am guessing no. That’s not how we are expected to endure. We are expected to have faith, have faith that the one above has a reason and he is watching over us and that no man can hurt you or break you, because your hope comes from God. To endure gracefully and learn from all the troubles, issues, set backs you face in your job, unpleasent situations at home, unnecessary fights with your loved ones or friends.
3)so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Als, the reward, the result. Why do we have troubles to begin with? Why do we need to endure you may ask? Why? So that we are complete. We are refined and molded into people that God hoped us to be. I love these last words perfect-complete- lacking nothing. And there right in the middle of all this chaos you are perfected.
So the next time if things ain’t going your way, you are asked to take in all that is happening to you without reacting in a worldly fashion – know that you are on the journey of being perfected. I know I am cause each day a new problem surfaces and I am in a state of panic and as anxiety kicks in I just tell my self “If God is with you, who is against you.” I suddenly feel calm and know that this is my chance to endure, to have faith that through it all lies my reward..