I love all the books of the Bible. Some I understand better than others. And always when I read them again, I find a better understanding and new insight. I tend to be drawn back to James. He just lays it on the line, in my face, no bones about it. I invite you to spend a little time there with me.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything."
Can you think of a trial in your life that has grown your faith, one that has drawn you closer to Jesus? It's like when we were children and we were afraid, threatened or sad, we turned to our parents for comfort. The people in our lives that we depended on to wrap their arms around us and make us feel better. That sweet assurance that no matter what happened, they were there for us, to protect us, to dry our tears, to heal our wounds, to tell us everything is going to be "Okay."
Each time the assuring words and comfort, grew us a little stronger. It better equipped us for the next "trial". And soon we were able, with the right support, to face our obstacles with more confidence, knowing that we could persevere.
As time passes our trials can become life altering; the loss of a job, the end of a marriage, the death of a loved one. When I was going through what I call "my summer from the bad place," no one could fix it for me. My ground shook, it was my very own earthquake. The sadness was immense, the betrayal devastating. I was searching for some how, some way to make sense of it all, to understand why. But there was no rationalizing the irrational. Bad things happen.
This is the point, the place where the God relationship comes in; the parent of all parents, just waiting for us to lean on Him, to bring it all to Him. His words "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." I have to tell you, this trial grew me in several ways.
Most importantly, it grew me even closer to my Amazing Heavenly Father. I know beyond any doubt that His promises are real, that His comfort and peace are unshakable, and His rest is so very replenishing. I know that our self-worth is not measured by what our spouse, our family or the world may think of us. Our self-worth comes from the Master of the Universe. He created us, loves us, wants for us to reach for Him in all of our trials. His opinion, "we are fearfully and wonderfully made". And His opinion is all that truly matters. His words, "Commit your ways to me and I will give you the desires of your heart". His words don't change with the times, His promises are permanent, His love unconditional.
Our Savior, He gave us life, offers the stamina to persevere, the strength to overcome, the peace to accept the things we have no control over and an eternity filled with heaven.
But what happens to those who don't know Him? What about the lost who don't understand how much they are loved by God, how He holds peace, love and joy, there for the taking, if they will just seek Him. Oh how He longs to save them. These precious lives lost because they decide their lives are not worth living and end all hope, they have no place to seek comfort, the pain is unbearable and there is no reason to carry on.
Some turn to drugs or alcohol for numbing the pain, destroying their bodies and minds. Some take the lives of others because of their own misery. I know you've read the stories, heard it on the news. We shake our heads, our hearts are saddened. Why? We ask.
It is not ours to understand or make sense of. Bad things happen. But it is ours to reach and teach Jesus to a lost and dying world. His instructions to us, "Go into the highways and byways and compel them to come in."
We bring the sustaining words, "Find rest, oh my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken". Psalm 62: 5-7
If you are journeying with Jesus, you know the peace that passes understanding, the direction of abundant life, the wonderful eternity that is planned for you. Please share this ultimate gift!
If you don't know Him, seek Him, pray to Him, read His book, reach out to someone who reflects Him in their life. He is waiting for you. He does not want that one should live without Him. I promise, you will never regret it!
Body: Exercise your brain: Work crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, take a different route home, memorize scripture.
Exercise your body: 30 Minutes 5 times a week: walk briskly, swim, jog, zumba, dance, get moving.
Enjoy the abundance of fresh vegetables! Great for the body and the palate.
Live Happy! Live Strong! Live out Loud!
-- Jennifer Jarrell is a resident of Bedford County, a realtor, and a life coach and personal trainer. She inspires others through motivational speaking, nutritional, physical, and spiritual coaching, camps and group classes. You can reach her at (931)703-0667 or firstname.lastname@example.org.