Life presents all kinds of challenges, some of which are our own making. Probably a good number of challenges we face, in the place of would be obstacles to our ongoing life in grace are actually things God either wants to remove or radically alter, and I’m thinking mainly of fabrications in our own mind. Or perhaps most accurately, God wants to change us so that we actually grow and benefit from what is to us a trial.
I am reminded of James’s words, which are a tall order for us, but something we need to take to mind, even if we have a hard time taking them to heart, so that eventually we will indeed take them to both heart and life:
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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 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. 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. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
I would like to make another point from another scripture, and that is often quite legitimate and helpful, considering more than one scripture together, when faced with a problem. But I’m afraid too often we fail to take into account well enough the scripture at hand, the one we’ve been directed to. More often than not, I find it less than helpful, and distracting to be looking at more than one passage at a time, especially a number of them as if in a topical study. Instead we do well to keep reading and praying through the passage at hand, in this case from James.
There are no easy answers, and no escape of our own, which wouldn’t be good in the first place. Instead we have to learn to submit ourselves fully to God’s wisdom and find God’s peace in and through what often for us will not be an easy process. But one to which we need to be fully committed in and through our Lord Jesus.