Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.—James 1:2
Over three decades, it has been my great joy to spend time in God’s presence. The Creator’s call upon my life to take up my cross and follow him was crystal. Like the merchant who found the pearl of great price, a precious relationship with Christ, I sold everything I owned, left everything behind, and pursued him. Seeking first the kingdom and holy presence of God, I encountered many painful obstacles and setbacks that sentenced me to seasons of long-suffering.
I know what it’s like to live with a silver spoon in my mouth or to live with a copper penny in my pocket—to be on the giving endas well as the receiving end. I am no stranger to personal tragedies. I have experienced things that even Christians wouldn’t believe. I have accepted Christ’s invitation to die to self only to discover what it means to live for him through the power of a resurrected life. I have dared to trust God for the impossible only to see him make possible what no one could imagine. I have taken costly risks for the kingdom of God while I watched the world stand back and wonder how the LORD delivered me from glory to glory.
In spite of the pain and suffering that comes with my life-transforming relationship in Christ, there is nothing that can cut me off from him. Like James, when I face trials of any kind, I consider it nothing but joy, because I know that the testing of my faith produces endurance; and endurance will have its full effect, so that I may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.