Speaking to the Soul – August 24

Grow in resilience

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:2-3

Talk to anyone involved in business or sport, and they will tell you that they learnt the most when things have gone badly. Times of financial loss or heavy defeats forced them to reflect and learn the most useful lessons. By working through the challenging times, they gained resilience – and that’s what we all need to be effective in life.

We might wish that everything would always go smoothly and easily, but the truth is that, in those circumstances, we would never make progress. It’s for this reason that James rejoiced in the troubles his readers experienced. He wasn’t suggesting that troubles were, in themselves, good. The persecution that the Church was experiencing was extremely bad but, amazingly, God was able to use it to bring blessing. That’s why James saw their challenges as an opportunity for great joy.

Testing times often make us stronger and help build our resilience and ability to endure in the face of difficulties. This was particularly important for James’ readers as they faced persecution. James knew it would be very easy for them to wander away from the Church if their faith was not robust. So every challenge they faced gave them an exciting opportunity to grow a little more, and become more able to face the next challenge.

Please don’t think that any of this makes light of the challenges that you are facing at the moment. At present, I am helping a number of people who are going through really tough times. There are health issues, financial difficulties and relationship tensions, to name but a few. None of these things are good, and I would love to be able to make these problems disappear. But I am completely convinced that, as we open our lives to God, he is able to use even these present difficulties as a way of building us up and bringing real, deep, lasting joy into our lives.


What difficult experiences have you had that have helped you to grow in resilience?


Loving God, thank you that you are able to use even the toughest times to bring joy and blessing into our lives. Amen