Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For 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 strong in character and ready for anything. (Jam 1:2-3 NLT )
I struggle with verses like this. You can find many of them in the bible. What they all have in common is this sense that we should all be excited about our problems. Maybe I'm just a cynic or maybe it's just my life experience but I really don't think that that's what these verses are about. Yesterday I read this scripture in a new way. It came to life for me when I thought about what I've been experiencing the past few days.
I’m no longer sick with my infection. Having the infection derailed me from the things I've been trying to do. I found it difficult to get back on track. I've been overwhelmed at work and not dealing with my stress well. I'm really tired and the reality is that huge part of me wants to give up. That scares me.
I think often when people read this verse or even when some teach about they think it means "suck it up. " Today I read it as " don't give up". You see I think it can be really discouraging to hear that we should embrace our pain. But when I read this that's not what I hear. What I hear is a resounding " keep going, you can do it, it'll get better if you just keep trying".
It's not really the falling down that we need to take joy in. It's the getting up. For that is the hope of Christ.