Proverbs 22 and Psalm 22 were my first stop Biblically this morning so my mind went to James 1:4, “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” Psalm 22 is famous because Jesus quoted the first verses from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me…” The psalm continues with graphic pictures of that sense of abandonment and really what trials look like. For thirty one verses the psalmist works through describing his trial. Hence the role of perseverance from James 1:4.
Perseverance is also translated as enduring a trial or having patience in hard times, not just looking for the quick fix. The Message that expands the though in modern language talks about the feeling of being attacked on all sides so we wonder what going on but that forces faith “into the open and shows its true colors.”
So what helps me keep going when I want to quit? Part of it may be a stubbornness and fear of being called a quitter. There are others experiencing the same trial and I don’t want to be weak. Part may be the assurance that there is an answer so I don’t want to jump to the answer book until I have truly struggled with the problem. I think of the children’s song, “Going on a Lion Hunt, can’t go round it, can’t go over it, can’t go under it, guess I have to go through it.” In the song, the child meets a lion and must reverse the song to get home. James assures us that as we go through trials and don’t give up, we become more mature, more complete, less lacking, stronger. James does not offer financial or physical rewards but character building. Hard times while seeming random at the time, do serve a purpose.
I don’t know what challenges you are facing today but I find it comforting that I am not alone as God walks with me. He has walked through terrible times too. And while painful, trials are making us stronger. Lord, help me to perseverance and see your hand in my circumstances.

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