Sermon Recap: Being a Main Thing Church

How do you rejoice in various trials?

Or do you? I don't know about you, but when I walk through trials, it is certainly not honest to say I'm walking through them. More often than not, I'm either flat on my face, fully refusing to move or barely slithering through the struggle. Trials are certainly not my happy place. Addressing the consequences of sin in your life or another's or the struggle of a situation is just hard. There's no wiggle room around it or access over it or a life void of it. I've read this book with my girls at least 342 times called, "We're Going On A Bear Hunt" by Michael Rosen. Perhaps you've read it as a child or to your children or grandchildren. The narrator portrays a family on a bear hunt, enduring snow and a deep river and other environmental struggles where it's said over and over, "We can't go over it. We can't go under it. Oh no! We've got to go through it". And so the family presses ahead. Is this not the perfect metaphor for us when we face trials of various kinds, which is exactly what Scripture says?

James 1 tells us this:
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing". 

So, why is rejoicing when life is tough, so hard? Let me ask you, how close is joy? Is it present in your soul only when plans align, people behave or success is gained? Or is the presence of joy known through the trials you face and endure? On Sunday, Pastor Steve led us through 1 Peter 1, as Peter witnesses what happens because of the Good News of Jesus. When we experience the salvation of Jesus, we are given the very heartbeat of joy because of His great love. That love secures us in the knowledge that no matter what we face, He is present with us and secures us to the hope of faith.

Sometimes I sure wish the Scriptures following James included some promises of ease and earthly entitlement, giving us a magic safe word providing immediate rescue from any discomfort or pain. It's a wonder what that worldview would entail and I'd venture to say, unfortunately, it would be void of joy with a lack of wisdom from not having to endure or have faith.

Today, dear friends, let us have faith because the spirit of joy through what Jesus has done meets us in the struggle. 
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