Life Is Difficult. But A Life Lived In Faith Can Be Joyful In The Midst Of Trials.

Today’s reflection echoes some of the same sentiments as yesterday’s. It is a recognition that life is difficult, but a life lived in faith makes it possible to live joyfully, even in the midst of our trials. That is, if we develop the habit of perseverance in the faith. It is this perseverance that matures our faith and makes it complete.

James begins his letter here saying, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (verses 2-3) Our humanity is imperfect because of The Fall of Adam and Eve. The saints among are most aware of this. They know, maybe more intimately than the rest of us, that they are sinners in need of God’s grace. In this awareness they draw even closer to God, for they know that he is their comforter and their aid in their times of weakness. It is of paramount importance, then, for us to be prayerfully self-reflective enough to know our weakness and our strengths. God has given us our strengths and, if we call on him in faith, he is ready and able to turn our weakness into strengths. As James writes: “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.” (verse 5)

There is a way to ask, though, and James gives us a sense of that when, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he writes: “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.” (verse 6) Faithful perseverance through trials, then, is the process by which we gain spiritual maturity. It is in this that we are prepared for the coming of Christ.

Lord, help us to persevere in our faith during these troubled times. For our deepest desire is to know you, and to love you, and to serve you in this world, and, then, to be with you in the next. Strengthen us to persevere in this faith so that we can be made mature and complete. In this only will we find our joy. We pray this prayer in your holy name Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.