Over the years, the one constant I have observed and experienced is that while I can’t always control my circumstances, I can always control my responses to them.
Circumstances may be beyond your control, but they are not beyond God’s control. In fact, they are already in God’s control and he has that “proverbial” reason for whatever comes into your life.
Bad things are good things in disguise. We are called to endure trials:
…if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called…
(1 Peter 2:21)
And while the term endure may imply to withstand, it also means that it is more than just surviving. The Greek word includes a positive response—standing firm, being patient, and persevering.
Paul, in Romans states:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We learn from James that we should:
Consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
For me, every day has stressful situations, most of them minor, with an occasional more serious one. If I could learn how to unpack and tap into the “endless reserves of endurance”, I would avoid all stress if I made it a practice to follow the above biblical advice.
James makes it clear that I can choose to be joyful rather than be frustrated or despondent. To adopt this behaviour is not convenient or easy or even logical; but it is possible, if we wrap our thinking around the counter intuitive events that trigger “pure joy”; hint -- the events that frustrate our preferences.
Every one of these “bad” situations, whether trivial or prodigious, should elevate us to “pure joy”. It is God’s way of making us mature Christians -- and better servants.