Blessed Are the Steadfast

Jane Olson

READ : James 1:5-18

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial. (v. 12)

James tells us that the steadfast endurance of suffering leads to a crown of glory. But when we actually have to go through it, we tend to forget this. Instead, we often doubt God's goodness. We find ourselves asking, “If God loves me, then why am I experiencing this?”

This question is illuminating because it can expose the true nature of our relationship with God. If you are experiencing this sort of doubt, ask yourself: “Is my love for God conditional?” In other words, are you a Christian because you simply want to know and love God, or because you want God to give you things and make you happy? This “double-mindedness,” as James calls it, means that we have rooted our well-being in the material circumstances of our lives. Our sense of security yo-yos with the ups and downs of the stock market. It's not only an unstable way to live, it can cause us to be angry and bitter with God.

This can lead to a further mistake—to blame God for our sufferings. But before we cry out, “Why is God doing this to me?” perhaps we should take a cold, hard look in the mirror. Often, our suffering is the result of our own misguided desires. God does not promise a pain-free life. What he promises is himself. Is that enough for you?

PRAYER

Lord, forgive me for using you as a means to an end.