“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds …” (James 1:2)
When difficulties come to us in life and in our relationships, as they inevitably will, it’s easy to succumb to the “dominoes of despair”. First, we become disappointed with an event or relationship. Then as the trial lingers, we topple into discouragement and surrender our expectations that things will change. Finally, as we feel the impossibility of moving the object against which we lean, we succumb to the last domino of despair. We feel powerless and hopeless, and don’t know how to see our way clear. Instead of running our life’s race, it feels like we’re swimming below the surface in an ocean of jelly.
Often when we can’t understand life’s circumstances, we limit our expectations of who God is and what He can do. We think there’s only one good outcome — the one we want! Instead, we need to trust our heavenly Father because He may have bigger and better things in mind. We must try to see Him at work in whatever trials come our way.
Remember, God’s expectations are bigger than our own, and only our heavenly Father and His purposes, no matter how painful they seem at the moment, truly satisfy our souls. James writes: “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” (vv. 2-4). Keep that truth uppermost in your mind today, and you won’t give in to despair.
Heavenly Father, when I give in to despair, help me remember that in despair You are still working, and working for my good to see me through. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.