James 1:2-5 (ESV) Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 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. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
As a pastor, you probably know a number of people who are going through really difficult times right now. Perhaps you are one of them. Your faith is being challenged. Your heart is growing weary. Your emotions are raw and you don’t know how much more you can take.
In our text there are four things to notice:
- James is writing to persecuted Jewish believers who have been scattered throughout the world.
- James writes about trials that we will all eventually encounter. Notice that he says, “when” not “if”.
- James says that we can expect some benefits from these trials.
- James urges us to ask God for wisdom. If we don’t understand what is going on in our lives, we can ask God and He will give us understanding, wisdom, and insight.
What does God have to say about our difficult days:
- Difficult days are intended to build our character. God is primarily interested in our character not our comfort. He allows difficult days to build our character and deepen our relationship with Him.
- Difficult days reveal the real you. Without trials and hardship you don’t really know who you are and what you are made of. When I am under pressure, what’s inside comes out. Some of the things that come out are good – trust in God, hope for the future, peace in the storm.
But some of the things are not so good – anger, fear, frustration, impatience, selfishness.
God wants to expose those things. He brings them to the surface because He intends to deliver us from them.
- Difficult days draw us to the Father. They cause us to seek the Lord for wisdom, for strength, for guidance, for protection, for provision, for help.
What these difficult days reveal to us is that we have a Father who genuinely cares about us and is so faithful to meet our needs. We don’t learn this in any other way.
We only learn about God’s faithfulness, goodness and mercy, when we go through the most difficult and painful trials.
He is faithful. He is good. He really cares. Yes, pastor, He really does care about you and the difficult days you are facing. You are not alone.
Care for Pastors stands ready to help you. We minister to those who minister. We are a safe place to turn when you don’t know where to turn. Reach out to us and we will respond.