When we experience some hardship, challenge or something does not go according to our plans, one of our first reactions is to think “life is unfair. I don’t deserve this”. We feel robbed and a profound sense of injustice. This feeling is amplified when we look around and see persons who seem to have an “easy” life without any hardship. The next thought generally is then “why me?”.
Then you read something like James 1 and think how illogical it is to be joyful when you don’t get your way. When life seems so fundamentally unfair. In addition to seeming illogical, it seems impossible at first glance. After all, we have been taught by society that when something doesn’t go your way you are entitled to be upset. It appears that James 1:2-4 goes against our very nature!
James 1:2-4 (CEB): “My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy. After all, you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let this endurance complete its work so that you may be fully mature, complete, and lacking in nothing.”
Endurance is defined as “the ability to withstand hardship or adversity, especially the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.” Generally, some of the main benefits of building endurance include that it makes your everyday activities easier. It prevents your muscles from growing tired and hindering you from carrying out the work at the same pace. In addition, when your muscles grow tired, your chances of injury increase.
In the spiritual context, life is the “prolonged stressful activity”. Throughout it, we must try our best to exercise our muscles (being the Fruits of the Spirit – faithfulness, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, gentleness, humility) so that we can walk in love and righteousness, and resist the devil, the flesh and the world. All of which we had grown used to before accepting Jesus Christ as the Messiah. 2 Corinthians explains why life is a prolonged stressful activity.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 (CEB): “So we are always confident, because we know that while we are living in the body, we are away from out home with the Lord. We live by faith and not by sight. We are confident, and we would prefer to leave that body and to be at home with the Lord. So our goal is to be acceptable to him, whether we are at home or away from home. We all must appear before Christ in court so that each person can be paid back for the things that were done while in the body, whether they were good or bad”.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10 explains that we’re homesick, and that to thrive while being homesick we need endurance of the spiritual kind to sustain us.
Some of the Fruits of the Spirit can only be exercised and grow under trials. Building our endurance by making us, for example, wait for an answer and have faith, be joyful and patient is for our ultimate benefit. Without testing our peace when faced with strife, generosity when faced with selfishness, gentleness when faced with rudeness, we will never know that we are able to remain in peace, kindness, and gentleness. Now when a new challenge comes along (and it will come along (John 16:33)) that requires patience, we can exercise it and be happy. We can go through life easier and with joy!
If we resist going through the trial and focus on all the things going “wrong”, we never get to the good waiting for us. Our faith gets belittled, devalued and weak. Losing faith does hurt us because we lose hope for our future.
When you start to get into that “Why” mode, think about your own life. All the things that were difficult to go through but without them you wouldn’t be where you are, who you are, and with the loving people you’re with today. Remember that God is not a pointless God. We can trust and believe that He does what He does because it is necessary for our benefit. He gets absolutely nothing out of it.
When all else fails and everything in your life seems to be uncertain and out of your control, remember that God is always certain and faithful. When we run out of patience, faith, love, He has enough to sustain us and He will keep on pursuing us even when we don’t pursue Him. Deuteronomy 31:8 (AMP): “It is the Lord who goes before you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be dismayed”.
In building our endurance, we can trust in the faithful promise of God in Isaiah 40:30-31 (CEB): “Youths will become tired and weary, young men will certainly stumble, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired they will walk and not be weary” because we “can endure all these things through the power of the One who gives [us] strength” (Philippians 4:13 (CEB)).
In addition to the benefits of building endurance through trials, James 1:12 (CEB) reminds us that “those who stand firm during testing are blessed. They are tried and true. They will receive the life God has promised to those who love Him as their reward”. And what is this reward you might ask? Let me remind you! “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future FILLED.WITH.HOPE” (Jeremiah 29:11 (CEB))!
See. Life isn’t unfair after all. Be joyful because to be tested is to be divinely favoured.
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 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
 https://www.ahealthyphilosophy.com/article/muscular-endurance-a-brief-overview – Muscular endurance: A brief overview. Published on 25 November 2014.