“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles 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)
Like many women across the globe, I have faced the hurt from a broken heart, and I know that when you’re hurting in that way, all you want is a remedy to make the pain go away. I’ve known this passage in James 1:2-4 for quite some time, but when I was going through this situation, I couldn’t imagine being joyful in the midst of my troubles.
James 1:2-3 encourages us to take a different approach to pain. God doesn’t tell us not to feel the hurt, but He commands that we take our focus off of what has transpired and put it on what He will do for us in the final outcome.
We can’t change the past, no matter how much we might want to. The absolute best thing that we can do for ourselves is to leave the past in the past. Verse 3 is letting us know unequivocally that our faith is going to be tested. Be clear that God isn’t testing our faith, because He already knows what we’re made of. The enemy is the one doing the testing, because he wants to see how far we are willing to step outside our commitment to God.
We know that the enemy meant to cause us harm, but our Great God will take what the enemy means for bad and turn it around for our good. Through our pain and heartache, we learn endurance. We learn to be patient and wait on God as He not only teaches us how to be strong, but also turns our situations around in the process.
James 1:3 also encourages us to ‘let it grow…” In other words, God is telling us that we have a choice. We don’t have to grow in Christ. When faced with adversity, God has given us a way to handle it. He’s telling us to let it be a stepping stone to higher spiritual heights by having faith in Him and making a deeper commitment to spiritually grow, but we don’t have to do this.
As a matter of fact, many women don’t. Rather than looking up, they’ll look down and see the broken relationship that has hit the ground and broken into a million pieces. Instead of growing in endurance and rededicating themselves to Christ, they will use their time and emotional resources very unwisely by trying to pick up those broken pieces on the ground.
This is almost always a waste. James 1:4 tells us that when we’ve grown and matured to full development, we’ll be complete in Christ. We will have gleaned a fuller understanding of God, a closer relationship with Him, and a better appreciation for our own worth and value. When you get to this place, you clearly see that truly you don’t need anything or anyone to make you more than what you are. You’ll understand that through Christ you are more than enough, and you are prepared to receive someone who will truly appreciate it.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.