Persevere, persist, continue...can you tell I'm trying to say something? Have you ever felt like there was a big red target on your back and that about the time things are going relatively smooth, even in the midst of challenges, a razor sharp dart hits you strategically smack between the shoulder blades... metaphorically speaking. You may have been managing, you developed coping skills and strategies with the help of the Lord and you had a tenuous, at best, sense of well being for the moment. Well, don't get comfortable!
The book of James has been my consistent reading over these past few days. James, it appears, has an insight into the trials and temptations of life that most of us might miss. Sometimes when I read verses like, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..." I want to look James in the eye and say, "Really?" "You really think I ought to consider it pure joy?" Gathering my emotions I press on into further reading knowing and trusting James has his reasons for such a blatant declaration. And there it is...that word, because; a seemingly innocuous little part of speech, referred to as a conjunction, that connects the statement with the reason. "...because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." Oh, okay then, the goal is perseverance with the definition being: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition; steadfastness.
Why can't good times be used to produce perseverance? Why can't peaceful, contented times produce perseverance? Simplistic questions with an even simpler answer...because they can't and don't! There is nothing wrong with having good times and peaceful, contented times, we get those too and we get them to enjoy. But James is after something here, a greater gain than even happiness, he's after eternal rewards and only trials produce perseverance and only those who persevere under trial get the prize...a crown of life. "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."
Does it help to have this information when in the midst of a trial? The answer is a resounding YES! So much of our life is peppered with trials and only coming to a settled realization that it is not all about the 'here and now' it's also about the 'then and there.' This truth will assist us to persevere, to be steadfast, to hang on, hang in, hold on and carry on! There's a crown waiting; a crown that we will receive for persevering. It is not the kind of crown that we will prance around wearing pointing to a bejeweled headpiece, no,no,no, it's a crown that we will be able to lay at His feet. On that final day, when we all stand to give an account, we sure don't want to stand there empty handed.
It has been said, "Who can mind the journey when the road leads to home?"
You may or may not need this book, but I guarantee you know someone who does. If misfortune in life is trying to destroy you or someone you know, I have wonderful news for you: this book will help you keep living.