In 2001 my family and I moved to Lubbock, so I could go to Missions School at SIBI. When we left the Big Country to go up on the plains, we were enduring a ten-year drought. Over the next ten years it rained, around here, not so much on the plains. Now that we have moved back we are seemingly in another drought, and what good is it? I have asked myself this question perhaps as many times as I have asked God for rain. I am still doing the latter, by the way. Now, however, I know some good that has come from this drought. First of all, I have recently been allowed to harvest, for firewood, some of trees that were killed by the drought. Subsequently, I have made some precious new friendships. Finally, I have a chance to be outdoors and exercise in a way that benefits my whole family, and I have been reminded of some life-lessons that are foundational in our walk with Christ. I will have more to say about all of this on Sunday, but for now, let us look at some of what the Bible says about our trials and the good God works for us in them.

            James writes a letter to suffering Jewish Christians, the twelve tribes scattered among the nations (James 1:1). James begins and ends his letter with instructions concerning their sufferings and trials. He reminds them of the importance of faithful and patient perseverance in the midst of these trials:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will           be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. . . . Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!  (James 1:2–7; 5:7–9)

 

            We often fall prey to the idea that we are waiting on circumstances or other people to change. What I mean is; we find ourselves waiting on the rain to rain, the snow to snow, a train to come, or a plane to go, to borrow from Dr Seuss, and so, we forget that what we await as Christians is really – our Lord’s Coming. Amen, come Lord Jesus!

                                                Peace,

                                                            Jay Don

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