My Dear Friend,
Once again, I pray that this short devotional will be a blessing and encouragement to you in some way. Please let me know how you are doing, if there is any need for prayer, and if there is any way I can be of help to you. As always, you are loved and you are missed!
Love in Christ,
“How long, O Lord?” Psalm 13:1
“Let endurance have its full effect.” James 1:4
What Good Will We Make of This?
As the current crisis lingers on, people all over the world, in every imaginable language, are asking the same question: “How long will this go on?”
In today’s Older Testament reading, the great prophet-king of Israel, David, asked God the same question: “How long, O Lord?” Then he demands, “Consider my question and answer me!”
David was obviously in the midst of a long, drawn-out ordeal. By repeatedly asking God, “How long, O Lord?” he was really asking, “How much more of this must I endure?” Similarly, people all over the world are now asking, “How much more of this must we endure?”
endurance: Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines it as, “the ability to withstand hardship or adversity…”
Please note: By its definition, endurance is a form of ability. There is therefore a definite advantage to developing endurance! Who would not benefit from having more ability to withstand hardships or adversities, since they will keep showing up at our doorsteps?
In today’s New Testament reading, we see that the Apostle James was aware of this benefit when he said, “Whenever you face trials of any kind, you should consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance (James 1:2).
But James sees an even greater benefit when he says, “Let endurance have its full effect.” And what is the “full effect” of endurance, according to James? It is maturity. James says that if we gain this maturity by enduring hardships, we will then lack nothing. That is to say, we will be fully equipped to face and withstand “trials of any kind.” This means that we will have greater ability to face any hardships or adversities in the future.
When we are suffering through any protracted crisis, it is only human that we should ask, “How long, O Lord?” But the better question is, “What good thing can we make of this?” If we follow James’ advice, that good thing will be a greater spiritual and emotional maturity to equip us with ability to endure anything that comes our way.
May this present crisis – this testing of our faith – produce endurance, and may we let that endurance have its full spiritual and emotional effect – a greater ability to say with confidence, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)