One of the greatest questions we will ever ask is: what's the meaning of life? It's a deep question but it's something everyone has thought about at least once in their lifetime. For the believer, we know that life is about God; knowing Him, loving Him, worshipping Him, and serving Him. But with so many ups and downs we can lose sight of these simple truths. There are an array of struggles and triumphs, people to meet and places to be, so much to accomplish that we can think life is more about what we do rather than who we are. We live in a day and age that's very fast paced and dependent on our ability, that we can lose sight of our true identity and our true character.
From the beginning, God purposed in His mind what each and every one of us would look like. As the bible tells us, we were created in His image, formed to look and sound like Him. As women, we've been created to display His love, share His hope, and reveal His plan to our world. This passion and purpose is according to the true character of God. We don't create these ideas ourselves. They don't come from a television show or a magazine, they are found in who God is! He is love (1 John 4:18), He has a hope (Jeremiah 29:11), and He has a plan for the world (John 3:16). These are certainties we've been created to know and walk with. But as hard as we try, there will be things that come up to try and harden our hearts towards who God is. The reality of His love can become buried when pressure and problems make their way into our lives.
James begins his letter to a group of dispersed Christians; people being persecuted and pressured to give up their faith, with and incredible statement. "Count it all joy…when you meet trials of various kinds." At first glace this seems confusing and contradictive. How can one find joy in the midst of a trial? What is the purpose behind being excited about tests? He goes on to say that "the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." If there is a deeper and truer sense of who God is within in us, James says it's through struggles that this character comes out. Of course we all wish for a world where there is no resistance to our faith. But if we didn't experience the things that cause doubt, we would have no need for faith! There is always a purpose for the pressure we experience! When we realize what God is trying to pull out of us, we aren't concerned about what happens to us. There's a greater character in you that's ready to be pulled out. So rejoice! Your trouble is building your character.