“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:2-4, NLT).
Do you struggle to hold on and just want to quit? Don’t give up! The testing of your faith produces great joy. It also develops perseverance. These verses say that if you allow perseverance to work in your life you will be “perfect and complete” and not lack anything you need to face hard times. That is a powerful thought. There is a work going on inside you, and it can only be completed through commitment and perseverance. Spiritual growth discovered through perseverance during times of hardship has the power to create a joy that nothing can shake. When you have fought to learn His lesson and have won, there is no joy like the joy of victory. Patient endurance is what you need, and if you press on to do His will, then you will receive what He has promised (Hebrews 10:36).
The Lord’s will is for greater faith to spring up in the midst of suffering. It is your decision whether the lesson is learned. The Lord uses trials and suffering to inspire spiritual growth. “These have come,” Peter imparts, “so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (I Peter 1:7, NIV). The testing of your faith is meant to give you the ability to persevere. It is your decision whether you allow His refining fire to purify and strengthen your life.
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face,” Paul writes. “All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, MSG). God knows your limit and will never allow more than you can handle. His grace is more than sufficient, and He will provide the strength to stand. You can either stay adrift in fear, or you can allow God to anchor you in His truth. Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you can’t see (Hebrews 11:1). It comes by hearing and knowing and understanding the Word of God (Romans 10:17). With the Word anchored in your spirit, you press on through the hardship of life in order to believe in that which you can’t touch or see.
“Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31, NLT). You can soar above the trials of life. You can run and not be weary. Hold on. Don’t quit. Allow perseverance to complete its work so that you will be mature and not lacking anything in your spiritual life (James 1:4). Joy then becomes something not built on circumstances, but on a faith that has been perfected through the fires of life, and forged to be strong and lasting.