Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles 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. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and completed, needing nothing. James 1: 2 – 4 (NLT)
Wrapping up my Knoxville job, packing my apartment, finalizing our wedding plans, moving myself back to California with the help of my future in-laws, and settling into my fiancé’s house while he was on a business trip to Japan, all while preparing for and presenting at two conferences was too much for me to handle in two months. I feel so overwhelmed, I frequently lamented, I want these two months to be over with.
I tried to focus on one day at a time but they crawled by. Continually questioning God’s intentions wasn’t helping, either. I had just moved myself from Anaheim to Knoxville eleven months prior, so why was God having me change my life completely again so soon?
Then one morning as I read James 1 I felt God speak through the words of his Apostle Paul who said, “[W]hen troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” Finding great joy in the midst of my massive life changes did not seem possible, yet Paul managed to do so in his life even while he was in prison. He easily could have focused on the “woe is mes” of his life, bemoaning that he was stuck in prison, not traveling to spread the Gospel. Instead, he chose to view his alleged misfortune as a great fortune; he shared God’s love and salvation with the prison guards, leading many to Christ and ultimately making a significant impact on the growth of the church.
Inspired by Paul’s faith and endurance, I decided to view my own “prison” as a great fortune. I focused on thanking God for the innumerable blessings granted me through my time in Knoxville, moving back to California, and starting a new life with my future husband. When I shifted my focus, my heart and mind shifted too, allowing me to patiently endure each day and trust the master plan of my Lord.
Prayer: Father, please help me to view every day as a great blessing and to trust that you are in control of my life. Help me to follow your lead and have faith that you are taking me down right paths. Amen.
Song for Mediation: Bring the Rain by Mercy Me