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
Listen: James 1
The book of James is written to a group of people scattered and in disarray. They have no idea how long their trials will last or whether they will end at all. James encourages them to choose hope, to trust God and endure.
History tells us that James himself never saw the end of these trials. According to ancient historians, he was taken to the top of the temple mount, (several stories high) and told to deny Jesus. When he didn’t deny Jesus, they pushed him off and then stoned him to death. Even more remarkable, he spent his last seconds praying for the forgiveness of those murdering him.
Hebrews 12:2-3 also tells us to endure but gives some more instruction. It says we are to fix our eyes on Jesus “for the joy set before Him he endured the cross.” It tells us to consider him who endured for us so that we don’t grow weary and lose heart. Imagine how this might have encouraged believers facing persecution to know their Savior endured death and shame for them. They were not alone, Jesus understood what they were going through.
We all go through trials. Maybe you have gone through something difficult in your past, are dealing with it now or will in the future. We can learn from James and these early believers when we feel like we are suffering and there is no end in sight. Even when we can’t imagine how things can get better, feel alone or feel like no one understands—we are wrong. Our Savior knows what it is like. He is with us and can imagine a better future. We can remind ourselves that Jesus is bigger than my pain, my concerns and my present circumstances. James and the writer of Hebrews would tell us, “Look to Jesus and endure. There is hope—God isn’t done with your story yet.”
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Commit to memory Hebrews 12:2-3. Write it down or put it in your mobile to review over the coming days. Use it as a reminder both of what Christ did and as motivation to get through the difficult seasons.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.