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. ~ James 1:2-3
This past Sunday, my pastor preached on this passage in James. He is currently going through a series on spiritual maturity, using the book of James as a roadmap. I think it’s an excellent topic for me right now, especially because James doesn’t mince words – he tells it like it is.
The title of the sermon was “Staying Positive Under Pressure” and my pastor spoke about how our maturity is often reflected in our handling of a difficult situation. As Christians, I think we often hear these verses and think that we have to find the good in every trial, regardless of how bad it is. I know that’s how I usually approach this passage. Even after the sermon, I was trying to find the good that may have occurred in my husband’s death.
Today it finally hit me that this isn’t what James meant. There isn’t anything good about death.
Losing my husband was awful and continues to be awful. And that’s okay – God doesn’t expect me to think that it’s great. He KNOWS what a terrible thing He has allowed me to go through. That’s why He stays with me every day. But what James was trying to teach us is to stay positive during the trial, because we know that God wins in the end. I can think that losing my husband was the absolute worst thing that has happened to me in my life and still have confidence in God.
Somehow, that made things easier. It’s nice to try not to have to work so hard at finding something good, or to plaster on a fake happy face. I can acknowledge the difficulties in life without letting them take over. If I can do that, James says that I will develop perseverance, which is what will help me stay strong no matter what life throws at me.
I know other verses in the Bible say that God works all things for good for those who love Him and I really believe that. I know that He has used my husband’s passing to bring people to faith in Christ, so in that regard something good has come out of this loss. But for me, I can still feel the pain and the hurt of his death without losing heart, because I have faith that God will overcome.