“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
– James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Wilma Rudolph understood the trials of life. She was born the 20th of 22 children and lived under the stress of severe poverty. As a child, she suffered from polio, scarlet fever and pneumonia. As the result of polio, she wore a brace on her leg and was told by doctors and others that she would never walk again. Not only did Rudolph walk, she turned to athletics and quickly became a talented sprinter. At 16, Rudolph competed in the 1956 Melbourne Games and won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100m. In 1960, she won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, and 4 x 400m. Because of Rudolph’s grace and style, she received the nickname, “The Black Gazelle”. After a brilliant career as an athlete, Rudolph dedicated herself to coaching underprivileged children and speaking out on social issues of the day.
The Christian life is filled with challenges. They can come uninvited and unexpected. Trails are inevitable. James does not say if you fall into various trials, but when. The question we must ask ourselves is “What are we going to do about them? We can rebel against them and battle them in our own power. We can give up, grumble, complain, or climb into the hole of self-pity. James is encouraging us to allow the trials to deepen our dependence on the Heavenly Father. We are to trust that God is using the trials to produce the likeness of Christ in us. Our trials can be short-lived or they can last for years. We should not become discouraged. How often do we hear someone say, “It wasn’t easy to take, but I wouldn’t give up the experience for anything.” Without problems, we would never develop endurance and perseverance. Problems can build character. Peace comes through our total submission to the will of God. We must remember that no problem is too great for our Father.
Heavenly Father, give me peace as I go through the trials that today brings. Help me to submit to Your perfect will as You make me a little more like Your Son Jesus each day. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.