I hope that you are finding time to get into God’s Word. We are living through an interesting time in human history. A friend who is a little older than me commented, “I have never seen anything like this before!” I would have to concur. It is the uncertainty that breeds fear, but our Creator reminds us again and again to trust Him through the storms of life. The Psalmist put it this way “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
We lean on God when we grasp that trials serve a purpose in our lives. Jesus’ half-brother, James, reminds us that storms are a component of life. His instructions to us are, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” (James 1:2) This joy is found in our relationship with God. It is found by placing our confidence in His promises rather than my abilities. The passage goes on to remind us that, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:3–4) Simply stated our trials, when embraced, are used by God to bring us to spiritual maturity. What really changes is our attitude! It is this focus that provides strength and perseverance knowing that Our Heavenly Father has our back!
God’s Word is wonderful in how it communicates life truth. The simple phrase above, “various kinds” communicated the truth that these trials come in many different colors. We are experiencing these colors through the collateral impact of the novel coronavirus threat, while others are also walking through different struggles at the same time. Yet, in each situation we can trust God. I should mention that James’ emphasis is that God allows these trials to bring us to a place of greater spiritual maturity. It is important for us to grasp that trials serve a purpose in our life.
We lean on Jesus when we bring our burdens to Him in prayer. I came across another passage yesterday that reminds us of the importance of prayer (God’s Word is filled with verses that emphasize prayer). “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.”( Luke 18:1) This simple verse offers encouragement to those facing uncertain times. It reminds us to bring our burdens to the Lord. The phrase “ought to pray” is not offering prayer as an option or suggestion. The phrase actually means “we need to pray out of necessity.” It is a reminder that prayer is a God-given handle to hold on to in the seas of life. It also reminds us that prayer changes our perspective during those difficult times.
I can remember one pressing time in my life that was very difficult. I learned that getting on my knees and bringing my burden with my tears to Jesus brought perspective and joy. I got up from those times of despair with hope. Prayer does make a difference. One of the blessings of prayer is it transfers our focus from the struggle to our Protector and Provider!
Let me encourage you to pray. Let me encourage you to pray with your spouse, children and even those around you who are struggling. I am reminded of Jesus’ promise, “Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)
-Pastor Joe Parkinson