The weight of the pandemic is still being felt. Just a few months ago we thought we were turning a corner only to soon realize it was a blind corner and there was a truck heading our way on our side of the road. More disease, death, debate, and division and, for many of us, closer to us now than it’s ever been. In my own world, people continuing to leave because of masks even as dear friends are in the hospital hooked to a mask trying to get enough oxygen into their system to survive. Heavy sigh! And that just gets layered on to whatever our “normal” stressors and challenges are. Heavy sigh, again!
Probably why I have ears to hear and a heart that wants to believe what James is speaking this morning.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. . . . Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.
(James 1:2-3, 12 ESV)
Where do you go but to the truths of the Truth-Speaker when your day begins with a heaviness because today doesn’t appear to be shaping up a lot unlike yesterday? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to paint a picture where nothing’s going right. Much to give thanks for and rejoice in on a number of fronts. It’s just that, from time to time, if feels like a sack of rocks is attached to my garment of praise. A weight even as I seek to worship. But I digress. Back to my question. Where do you go when the pressure valve is yet to be released? To the promises of God.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial . . .
Remain steadfast. Endure the trial. Persevere. Stick it out. And you’ll be blessed. Happy even.
Really? Yeah, really.
Blessed in the here and now as you know afresh His divine presence — as Christ lives in you and through you. Experiencing again the reality of His all-enabling power. Encountering again the practical sufficiency of His all-sufficient grace.
Anticipating being blessed in the there and then because there’s a crown of life, a victor’s wreath, waiting at the end of the marathon. Promised of God for those faithfully sojourning the pilgrim’s trail on their way home.
I believe it. ‘Cause I walk by faith, not by sight. And, I’m encouraged by it. Knowing He is faithful and that it really is going to be worth it all.
So, whatever burden I feel like I’m bearing, I’ll count it all joy. Consider it “a sheer gift” (MSG). Confident in the steadfast love of the One who calls me again to a steadfastness life.
By His grace. For His glory.