The Lenten season is about the sin that was the reason for the suffering and sacrifice of the Savior. It is about taking the time to reflect on why we all needed such a radical move of redemption, to confess the hold that sin still has on us, and to focus on opening our hands, in confession and submission, and letting go of sin once again. But as we do this, it is important to remember that the knowledge of sin is not a dark and nasty thing but a huge and wonderful blessing. If you are aware of your sin, you are aware of it only because you have been visited by amazing grace. Don’t resist that awareness. Silence your inner lawyer and all the self-defending arguments for your righteousness. Quit relieving your guilt by pointing a finger of blame at someone else. And stop telling yourself in the middle of a sermon that you know someone who really needs to hear it.
I did not want to get up this morning. I did not want to go to work today. All I could think about was coming into an office that is experiencing the throes of change. I want answers to:
- “Who is going to be fired in two weeks, if at all?”
- “What does my job/position look like in the midst of these changes?”
- “What does the future hold?”
As I got ready this morning, I decided to read from the Book of James. A few weeks ago my pastor quoted a verse to me from it; yesterday our guest speaker mentioned it.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”
I cringe every time I hear this verse from James 1. Equating suffering with being joyful sounds odd to my ears. Who wants to be joyful while living in/through hard times? I remind myself that God is always calling us to embrace Him and let Him do the heavy lifting. Reading on, a word (bolded) stuck out to me in verse 3:
“because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
Perseverance is a word I am quite familiar with. Growing up, I even used to listen/sing a song about it by GT and the Halo Express. When I think of of the word perseverance, I think of a quote made famous by Meet the Robinsons.
“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney
Despite my company being the verge of possibly shutting down… despite people’s attitudes/moods in the work environment as things get tough… despite not knowing where I am going to land in the future, I know that I need to have faith and persevere. James 1:4 goes on to say:
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Living in the valley, walking forward in shadow, I know that this is where Christ works. I know that I want to be where Christ works.
Going through personal difficulties? Encountering obstacles? I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. However, I want to further encourage you to not do so on your own. God wants to shoulder your burdens. He will give you what you need to persevere. Will you let Him?
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5