I was reading with Cinderella one day when we heard a loud crash. It sounded like glass shattering. We have a cat, so once in a while we do have things come crashing down when she’s not quite as agile as she thinks she is. We took a quick look around and didn’t see anything, so we assumed the noise came from the family room downstairs.
Later in the day, I went up to my bedroom for something. I was immediately greeted by a mess. In a fraction of a second the crashing noise we heard that morning came back to me and the connection was made. This is what we heard. I was staring at my medals in a heap on the floor. Every one of them had come off the pants hanger I had them hung on. The hanger had fallen, taking everything with it. My medal from the Christmas Light run had come apart, but it was dutifully blinking.
And that’s how the last several months have been. Every time I get a glimmer of hope, things come crashing down, and all hope is gone. Then the cycle starts again.
Everywhere I look lately, I see “suffering.” Not that I see people suffering, but that I see suffering as the topic of conversation. Our church is going through the book of John, and we are nearing Jesus’ crucifixion. There is no doubt that Jesus’ suffered physically and spiritually. Also, our ladies’ Bible study group has recently been focusing on suffering.
I read Lysa Terkeurst’s book Made to Crave a few years ago. I’ve had the Made to Crave Devotional for quite some time. I’ve decided to actually use it, and now she is focusing on suffering.
Living in the freest and wealthiest country in the world, I can’t help but wonder if anyone in the U.S. actually knows what true suffering is. Are we just a bunch of pansies that need to buck up, or do we truly experience suffering?
James 1:2 tells us to “consider it all joy” when we encounter various trials. That certainly is not usually our first thought. Our first thought is to consider it misery and suffering. Instead, we are to “consider it” or ponder, think, turn it over in our minds to joy. What a task!
Why are we to do this? Because it will lead to endurance. You can never have too much endurance. I have written on this before. It builds character which then leads to hope. James 1:12 tells us that “blessed is a man who perseveres under trial;”
If you are in the midst of a trial right now, I want to encourage you to hang on. Ponder and think about it, try to consider it joy. Believe me, I know how difficult that can be. Look ahead to what it will bring: endurance, perfection, and hope. And don’t forget that there is a blessing waiting for you in the end.
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12