I can hear thunder, as I begin to type this. It started about 10 minutes ago, but the rain is just now coming down. My kids are walking to a local park to watch a friend’s baseball game, and we’ve been playing phone tag, wondering if the game will get rained out. It makes me think of when my son played Little League. One game, in particular, it started raining SO hard (you know, the kind of rain that soaks you from head to toe after being out in it for one second!?!)! I remember that game; we and other families all ran for the covered areas as quickly as possible, as the rain beat down. From under the protection of the roof, we watched the rain bounce off the concrete as high as our shins. We were soaked, but we laughed. In that moment, there was togetherness that broke through the storm. Before long, the sun, too, broke through the clouds, the rain stopped, and we were able to walk out to our car.
Are you going through a storm in your life, where one minute, the sky seemed bright blue and sunny; then, an ominous cloud appeared, followed by an all-out downpour?!? Maybe you’re not in one right now; however, you know someone who is. Maybe you can think of a storm you’ve endured in the past.
What has felt like a storm?
“God will bless you, if you don’t give up, when your faith is being tested. He will reward you with a glorious life, just as He rewards everyone who loves Him.”
James 1:12 CEV
The Greek word translated here as “don’t give up” is “hupomenó.” This compound word means “remain under.” I love this picture, as God reminded me of that Little League game and riding out the storm. Many families grabbed their stuff and bolted for their cars in the torrential downpour, getting drenched, as they chose to run in the elements; yet, we “remained under” the protection of the ramada (or pavilion). We certainly got wet on our way there, but the level of soaking was MUCH less than those who ran to their vehicles in the pouring down rain! James calls us to “remain under” each test…to patiently suffer through the thing that is incredibly difficult or painful…to wait it out.
“My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy, when you fall into all sorts of trials,”
James 1:2 NETB
According to James, our first thought…the thought that leads all other thoughts and actions, when we “fall into” tests or temptations (when we feel like they completely surround us), is that it’s an opportunity for joy! This joy is demonstrated when it recognizes God’s favor. You may be thinking that “favor” seems super far from your mind, when you think about the storm you or someone you know is in. It may not seem fair or that God is looking favorably on you. Yet, we need to read on…
“because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
James 1:3 NETB
“But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”
James 1:4 HCSB
God, in His grace, wants to give you what you need to be mature and complete, lacking nothing, so He gives you a test to produce endurance. This word for “endurance” is the exact same word, “hupomenó,” that we saw earlier in James 1:12. If you patiently wait out the storm, you remain under His protection during the test. Once the storm is over, you will see His promised blessings. These blessings may look different than what one may expect, but they are opportunities to give God glory through your life, as you share what He has done, how you saw Him in the storm, etc.
As my brother, Jason, said yesterday during our conversation (he didn’t know God already had me writing about this, which is yet another way I saw God knitting this post together), “Growth happens when we’re uncomfortable.” God wants you, His child, to grow and mature. Remember, He allows these tests for your good, because He love you SO, SO much, and, ultimately, for His Kingdom’s good! There’s a lot of joy to be found there!
In the midst of the storm (test), is joy leading your other thoughts?
Are you taking the opportunity to give God glory by sharing how you saw Him during a storm in your life?
Please feel free to share with the Liv community! He WILL bless others through your life, as you give HIM glory!
It makes me so sad to say that I haven't worked on the Bible study in two months! Since school has started, and I have one kiddo at home in an online academy, I find quiet time to dig in extremely challenging. Please pray over this with me...