When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed.
James 1:2-4 (Phillips)
Maybe this translation leaves an icky taste in your mouth. Blech. Yuck.
Personally, I LOVE it!
Welcome my problems as FRIENDS??? That idea sounds so foreign to most of us, just as the original wording, “count it all joy”, does as well.
Think about the truest of friends. They NEVER LEAVE. Often, neither do our deepest pains or losses. My stroke will always be with me, effecting me in one way or another, like such a good buddy (said with the slightest hint of sarcasm).
The best, most ideal of friends, also have so much to teach us. We can all agree that if we are willing to listen, our pain is ALWAYS ABLE TO TEACH us something. MANY THINGS.
I just had the most amazing privilege of watching a movie called 1000 To 1: The Cory Weissman Story. It is the true story of a young man who had a stroke in college, and his comeback to continue to play college basketball and conquer all the other obstacles stroke threw his way.
Let me tell you.
There is nothing like watching something happen to someone after it happened to you, and watch them go through the grieving process. I cried, smiled, and laughed knowingly all at the same time. ( Yes, I was thinking bi-polar, too!)
But as I watched this movie, I realized just how HUGELY GRATEFUL I was for the stroke! For what it taught me, for the “new me” I am still becoming, for how I see God working ALL OVER MY LIFE EVERY SINGLE DAY! I am so thankful for this friend of mine! God could have left me just the way I was: book smart, selfish, insecure, blind to other people’s pain. But He didn’t! He DRAMATICALLY changed everything!
Could the loss of a spouse or a child one day be a friend of sorts in your life? Could you welcome the loss of job for the opportunities it could one day open up for you? Could you ever welcome long-term illness for the compassion with which it could flood your soul, making eternal imprints in the lives of many?
Let’s take a quick look at another phrase in the verse above. Don’t resent your troubles as intruders!
You see, you can choose resentment for your pain, or you can choose to strive to WELCOME it!
Welcome what it can do!
What it can bring.
Who you can become because of the One who so very carefully and painstakingly allowed that pain to come into your life in the first place.