Don’t you hate it?
I know I do.
I was reading through James and I only made it through a few verses.
Verse 2 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.”
Don’t you hate that?
When you’re going through trouble or trials of any kind, don’t you just want to deal with that pain?
Don’t you just want to be upset?
Don’t you just want to squeeze into a ball and cry?
Don’t you just want to give into your emotions and do whatever you want?
I doubt I’m the only one who has had thoughts like this while going through trials.
In fact, I know I’m not because people have recently shared with me all of these feelings they’ve had in the past.
But don’t you hate that?
Right away in this letter, James hits it hard.
“When bad things happen, let it be an opportunity for joy.”
Really? Let it be an opportunity for joy? You mean, in the midst of my hurt and my pain, I’m supposed to be thinking about how this mess I’m in should be an opportunity for joy?
There are times when I don’t want to step back from my pain and think like this. But James is saying, “Look. You need to step back from the pain you’re going through and have a little bit of perspective. Be joyful, knowing that what doesn’t kill your faith makes it stronger.”
So live in that place.
Live in the continual reminder that whatever you may be going through, your faith will have a chance to grow and you can get through it.
Ultimately, you have two choices. In your pain, you can be bitter or you can be better.
Bitterness is easy.
You can quit on your relationship with God.
You can sit in a bar and drink away your sorrows.
Past sins can sneak up on you and you can fall into bad decision-making.
There are a thousand bad decisions that can be made.
Being better requires more.
It means you don’t give up. You don’t give up at all. You scratch, claw, and fight to not fall into the sin that so easily entangles us.
Being better means choosing your relationship with God above all.
Being better means working on things that need to be worked on.
Being better means that in the midst of the pain, you continually work on your endurance, so that in the future, you will be stronger in character.
So yes, in the midst of any garbage you may be going through, it’s easy to not be the person God has called you to be.
But let it be an opportunity for joy, knowing that your faith will have a chance to grow and you can be stronger in character.
Choose to be better.