I was weary. Oh, not just weary, but bone weary. As Denny Trousdale told me, I’ve been rode hard and hung up wet. Between my secular job and my spiritual one; I was at the end of my rope. My body and my spirit seemed to be in a race to see which one would give out first. Today the spirit was winning. Outside was and is still gray and cold in the dead of winter and I am feeling really down.
But it’s just like God to find the right time and right way to lift my spirit; I checked my email and found something uplifting. I thank you Denny. God has sent you to me today to raise me from the doldrums and make me laugh. “Eating bon bons and watching a hallmark movie in fuzzy slippers, indeed!”
One thing always leads to another though, and soon I was reading this from Scripture:
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Trials happen to all of us all the time. I know of no way to avoid the troubles that come with living in a fallen world. As far as trials are concerned, we are all in one of three places: Either we’re coming out of a trial. Or we’re in a trial. Or we’re about to go into a season of trial—and we don’t know it yet! I am under a trial now. Though I feel all alone, my friend Denny reminds me that I’m not. It is called faith for a reason.
We sometimes wonder what sort of faith we need in trying times like these. I answer back, we need such faith as this, faith that cannot be touched or destroyed by trying times. We need faith that rests on God alone, faith that is simple and deep and profound.
We all want the life that God blesses. I want it for myself and for my family. I want it for all my loved ones. I want them to know the blessing of God’s favor in all they do. If the words of this text mean anything, they mean that this kind of life is within the reach of every believer. No one is left out.
But it comes at the cost of pain and toil in the midst of trials. There is no easy road to the blessed life. It is bought with tears and paved with sorrow. If it is an easy life you want, you will never take up your cross and follow Jesus. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus “saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him”. Following Jesus always leads to a cross.
If you want the blessing, you must set out on the “Jesus road,” knowing there is a cross somewhere up ahead. Those who follow him will never be put to shame. They are the ones who endure their trials with grace, find God’s approval, and in the end finally receive the crown of life.
Father God, I offer you thanks and praise for all my blessings – for trials that remind me that I need You and for friends that remind me that through their love, I have You.
Father James Ward