When times are good, I believe I have faith. I find it easy to write and speak in optimistic, joyful praise.
However, when times are tough, especially when my body and mind are challenged, it becomes more difficult.
I tend to moan and groan. I beg God to “help me,” implying if He will just give me a little assistance … cut me a break … cover my shift for awhile … I will go back to taking care of myself.
However, that is not what He has in mind. He plans some resistance training.
Many include resistance training in their exercise program. They do so joyfully with the idea they will soon be stronger.
It is not easy. It takes time. It takes repetition. It may make them sweat. But they consider it worth the effort.
James wrote a scripture that always seemed nuts to me. He said,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.”
I do not consider any trial to be connected with “pure joy!”😱
But James goes on to explain.
He said, “You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. “
He goes on. “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. “
And when I am lying on the floor, feeling a bit disoriented and feeling I can’t even think clearly, what should I do?
I hate not knowing what to do. Should I search the net for more information? Should I call in opinions from everyone I know? Listen to the news?
No! James goes on.
“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.”
God does not mind us asking Him anything. He is waiting for us to know “our help is in The Lord, Who made Heaven and earth.”
So I ask God. However, I often don’t wait for His Answer. I am asking, but I am also running in circles screaming, “The sky is falling!”
He is waiting for me to “be still and know He is God.”
He is waiting for me to “wait upon Him so He can renew my strength.”
And when He answers me, I must be not only be ready to receive it, but I must also be ready to hold onto it and not doubt.
James put it plainly.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
I am going through resistance training right now. I am not feeling the “pure joy” yet, but I know I am on the way to a day when I will be stronger.
The Joy of The Lord is my strength!