“Have the courage to live under strain and pain to be a part of a better story. Don’t wimp out.” Copied from James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore.
From James 1: 2-6 we read “Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of all kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete…If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…That man (who doubts) should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double minded man unstable in all he does.”
It is most difficult for me to find joy in trials whether they are in matters of health, family, finances, conflicts or any area of my life. To a certain limit, it appears that God allows adversity to come to us to draw out our response and reveal our attitude toward Him. When any dimension of my life becomes so hard or goes on so long that I feel I can no longer bear it, turning to Scripture for guidance and comfort gives me inspiration on how to approach the Father in prayer. I have written the following verses in the front of my Bible and have found the inspired words of St. Paul and the prophet Isaiah provide me both comfort and the will to face adversity of all kinds.
2 Corinthians 4: 8 from Paul states “We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed, perplexed but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.”
From Isaiah 55: 8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Knowing that all events, including those that cause pain or hardship occur for a reason, my prayer should not be to convince God that I know the answer but rather for Him to give me the wisdom which comes only from Him to see why something is happening and how to deal with it in a manner that brings glory to Him. Never give up on God.
The book of Hebrews is about the superiority of Jesus Christ. The author explained that Jesus is superior to the prophets, the priests, the traditions, the law, and everything that came before. This was very difficult for the Hebrews to understand. They were steeped in the Jewish traditions and rituals.
In chapter 12 the author explains that for everyone the choice is the law or Jesus’ grace. The Hebrews knew the story of when God gave the law to Moses. They knew it happened at Mt. Sinai, where their ancestors saw God demonstrate his holiness, justice, and majesty. They were not allowed to approach the mountain and they came to understand that the “wages of sin is death.” The Jewish sacrificial system began there.
Then Jesus came to Mt. Zion. There He died as the final sacrifice of sin and was resurrected. That was where the grace of God was manifested. The curtain in the Holy of Holies was torn and we can finally approach our Holy God.
So, for all of us, we have to choose Mt. Sinai or Mt. Zion. We have to choose the law or His grace. We can choose the law, which none of us can keep, or we can choose the grace of Jesus Christ. It is only through Jesus that we can be forgiven. It is only through His grace that we can approach our God.
Perhaps there is no commandment of Jesus which has caused so much discussion and debate as the commandment to love our enemies. In this time of great discord and hostility throughout our country and the world, the words of Jesus to His followers are especially meaningful.
“Listen, all of you. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you; implore blessing on those who hurt you…”
“God is kind to the unthankful and to those who are very wicked…Try to show as much compassion as your Father does.” (Luke 6:35,36)
Enemies can be defined as those who would do us harm. They may oppose, threaten, injure–socially, economically, physically, spiritually. As believers and Christ followers, we are to respond with active goodwill–resisting retaliation.
It takes a supernatural kind of love to pull this off, and we can’t do it without the power of the Holy Spirit within. The world can usually conquer the one who fights back with vengeance. But the world doesn’t know how to deal with the person who repays every wrong with kindness. This supernatural love is unbeatable. It is God’s secret weapon!