Monday, March 05, 2007

Happy While Hurting

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith builds perseverance." James 1:2-3

James is our topic of study in Senior High this quarter. He is SO practical it's scary!! Here are some thoughts about the above passage:
  • How come some people face trials and make it through, while others fall away from their faith?? What makes some people stick it out and others run away?
  • Why is it easier to be "joyful" about trials AFTER they happen and not DURING?!!
  • Why is it SO hard for us to cope with difficult times in our lives? Is it our upbringing? Is it our country and culture? Is it a faith problem? (Well, I guess so, because not many people DEAL with their trials, and therefore are losing their faith and perseverance!!!)
  • How can I help others be "joyful" in times of trial?
  • I realize I cannot just tell people, "Cheer up!" when they are going through tough times. I think the only reason James could say it is because he had an incredibly deep relationship with them and because he spoke with great authority as one who LIVED OUT what he preached.
  • Can you look back on anything in YOUR life that was painful at the time, but has produced greater perseverance? (I CAN!!)
  • Is there something in your life NOW that is difficult and painful? If so, do you believe this verse, that you will gain perseverance in your faith if you stick it out with God?!
  • Do you know someone who is in the middle of a trial and needs some JOY?
God, I pray for those who are "just getting by" today. Help them to stop just long enough to hear your gentle whisper in their lives. Help them to reach for you in their struggles and NOT TRY TO DO IN ON THEIR OWN. Help them to have JOY today!!
God, thank you for trials. Help us to praise you when we come through them unscathed and with deeper faith!! Amen!

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