Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)
We all desire to be blessed. We all want good things to come our way. But did you know, one of God’s methods of blessing is to allow us to go through trials and tests? We don’t like to think about God this way, do we? It kinda crushes the false idea that God is a great big Santa in the sky!
We are called to persevere when trials come so that when the trials of this life have passed and we have stood in the midst of the test, then God will keep His promise and bless us with the crown of eternal life. There is no greater blessing given than eternal life.
Many trials have fallen upon us. Hate is increasing. Political unrest is growing. And, there is a global pandemic bringing fear on many fronts. When such times come, it is not easy to persevere.
In his masterpiece, The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote about a Hobbit named Frodo who had to endure difficult days. While discussing the difficulties with his mentor, Gandalf, we read the following…
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
If we are all being honest, we probably would wish these difficult days away. But we cannot. We can only decide what to do with these days, and we must persevere. The strength to persevere is hidden in the blessing God promises to those that do so. That person, the one who perseveres, the one who loves God, will be given the crown of life.
The greek word here translated “love” is agaposin. Agaposin love for God means we love Him dearly and we take pleasure in Him. It means that we highly esteem Him and we long for Him.
Have you ever longed for something so much that you were willing to endure pain and hardship to get it? This is the concept here in James. Love God so much that you will endure trials and tests to live with Him forever.
God promises that if we will long for Him more than anything, we will have power and resolve to persevere. We will stand in the face of any trial and test, and He will greatly bless us!
We must stop wishing these events would not have happened in our time. Let us love God and persevere!