Today has been a study day. I have been reading and re-reading the book of James and praying through chapter 1. What does God want to say to me through this practical book in His word? When James(the brother of Jesus) tells us to count it all joy when we face trials of MANY kinds that can sort of scare a person! WHEN and MANY are fairly direct words, aren't they? It doesn't seem to leave a whole lot of room for discussion. How encouraged can we feel when we basically read, You WILL go through tough times and ALOT of them!
This is why it is so important to have close friends in the Lord...we all need friends to speak truth into our lives, to pray for us, cry with us, because WHEN these trials come we will be tempted to find a way of escape. We may want to shop, drink, sleep too much, eat too much, watch T.V. too much..you get the picture. But James tells us the trial tests our faith, develops perseverance, and perseverance finishes it's work so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything...WOW, chew on that for awhile! Our close friends in the Lord encourage us toward that perseverance, endure with us and help us to cling to Christ when we want to give into the temptation that could bring temporary relief from the trial.
As I study the first chapter of James my take away is this, Terri, don't give into the temptation to flee pain. Stay in it, wait, allow yourself to cry, feel sad, even depressed. Don't try and "fix" anything. Wait, believing that God will hear your cry and bring you a comfort that you seek. A comfort that goes beyond my circumstances. Consider it "pure joy." I love both of those words, maybe we can challenge one another to just consider those words next time we have discouraging or devastating news..God is doing things far beyond what we see.