I just didn’t get it…
Dear brothers and sisters, James 1:2-4 says, “whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.”
Wait. What?! You’ve got to be kidding!
This was my response to this verse when it was read aloud one morning, back in 1993, during teacher staff devotions. I was newly married, 22 years old and serving as a school teacher in Bolivia, South America.
“Opportunity for Joy?!?…in trouble?”
I just didn’t get it. It went against every fiber of my being. “I am to seek out JOY in my crisis?” That makes no lick of sense.
I had much to learn…
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.
-James 1:2-4 (NLT)
Yes, indeed, I had much to learn. And almost 30 years later, I can say I’ve come to better understand such invitation:
With crises comes…opportunity.
A choice. To let God do “His Possible” in, around and through my “impossibility.”
The key is in the word, “Let.”
Let. Allow. Give way. Be open to…
God can be trusted to accomplish GOOD amidst “the hard,” “the hurtful,” “the impossible,” “the crisis.”
So, with crisis, comes opportunity
Ok. I get that. But what about the “joy” part? That part of the verse sounds like fingernails grating down the chalkboard.
I had much to learn. And still do.
The joy mentioned in this verse is not referring to happiness, when the heart is light, the smiles are big, and laughter is present.
The joy mentioned here has to do with the steady anticipation of far better, greater, richer and lasting treasure ahead, which cannot be destroyed. Period.
Now, put in that way, I begin to perk up.
Huh, there’s something to this invitation of opportunity in crisis.
And I can testify, 30 years later, it is indeed true:
Where anxiety and fear once was, now a calmness and ability to wait with hope.
Where perfectionism ruled my heart and mind, filling me with relentless drive, now resides a rhythm, a pace, that energizes instead of depletes.
Where hasty speech and forceful action once ruled, a calm desire to wait, to listen, to reflect, to contemplate resides.
Where the push to control, manipulate and make my point known was paramount, now is content to step aside and let God “part the waters.”
I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection!
But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…
-Philippians 3:12-13 (NLT)
You, too, have such an opportunity.
Every single day.
Every single moment.
In the little crisis, in the big crisis.
Come, let crisis be given opportunity for God to work His Divine treasure in us as He works His, in His time through every twist and turn of our lives He deemed precious enough to send His Son to die for.
Yes. With crisis comes…opportunity.
Do you hear it knocking at your door?
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