Scripture: James 1:2–8
Key Verse: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” (James 1:2–3)
We all have good days and bad days, but sometimes life can be extremely hard. We often struggle to find a balance on the scale of life. On one side of the scale is reality—real-life issues that may be cause by our own failures or may be the result of things outside of our control. We may, for example, face a tragedy in the family or have to deal with the consequences of waiting until the last day to complete a term paper we had been given three months to prepare. On the other side of the scale are expectations. Expectations are what we hope or believe will happen. Unmet expectations can leave us feeling very disappointed and unbalanced.
God’s Word helps us to find balance, especially in hard times. Today’s reading provides wisdom and guidance about how to face hard days in life—days filled with “trials of various kinds.” Hard days can turn into joyous ones, with God’s help, as we remember that God cares for us times of adversity and difficulty. When we can see the end goal of our hardships—Jesus making us perfect and complete, lacking nothing—we can have joy in knowing God is using even bad days for good. When our reality is difficult and our expectations are not met, we can still have joy knowing that godly character is being developed in us!
How do you deal with hard days in your life? What hard issue in your life do you need help with today? Can you see any ways in which the things you’re facing can build godly character into life?
Looking backward: In one column, write down several trials from the past. Then in another column, write down the things that God has taught you during those times.
Looking forward: In one column, on a separate sheet of paper, write down some trials you and/or your family are facing. In another column, write down what God might be showing you and what you hope to learn from these trials.
God, help me to trust you in the various trials I will have in my life, so that I will be steadfast in you today, tomorrow, and forever. Please build the character of Jesus in my life.