Learning to Endure When Difficulties Hit
By Jennifer Slattery
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4
At first hint of trouble, I launch into fix it mode and strategize numerous solutions and immediately set them into motion. Like all of them. All at once, in case the first four fail.
But my frantic attempts to remain comfortable leave me broken and immature. Perhaps that’s why God allows me to land in difficult situations, urging me to stay. To endure.
To trust, learn, and grow.
In James chapter 1, Jesus’ brother wrote the words that make me cringe: Consider it joy when trials and temptations come. Because the testing of our faith develops perseverance. The ability to hold tight, undeterred, to our call to know Christ and make Him known, even when we have every reason to cave.
This enduring hinges on one easily overlooked, three-letter word: Let. “Let perseverance finish it’s work,” James said. Don’t run away. Instead, plant your feet, grit your teeth, and lean as hard as you must on Jesus, because though it hurts now, this is how God makes us perfect and complete.
Few, if told they had an abscessed tooth would avoid the dentist. Those with cancer intentionally seek treatment, knowing how difficult that journey will be.
Do we seek spiritual and emotional health with the same passion and focus? Or are we distracted by our search for an escape route.
Life’s going to hit hard. Trials and temptations aren’t optional, but how we face them is. We can feed our fight or flight response until it grows stronger and we weaker, or we can fix our feet and our thoughts on our Savior as He chisels and molds, stretches and grows us.
The next time life squeezes you and leaves you searching for the emergency exit, drop to your knees instead. Hold tight to Jesus and ask Him to give you the strength to endure.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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Originally published Sunday, 21 July 2019.