Have you ever felt that life just kept hitting you with wave after wave of difficulty and you couldn’t even catch your breath from one catastrophe before the next one was upon you?
I sure have!
“Why won’t it end?” we rightly wonder.
There is a tiny section of scripture in the book of Judges that almost seems like a footnote in its briefness, but revolutionized the way that I considered my challenges. Maybe it will for you too.
Judges 3:1 explains that after the Israelites mostly conquered Canaan, God allowed a few nations to remain in the land as a test. “This was to teach the future generations of the Israelites how to fight in battle, especially those who had not fought before.” (Judges 3:2)
Isn’t that interesting? God knew that the Israelites would need to know how to do battle, and the only way that they would learn this essential skill was if they had to fight sometimes. He left them with just enough skirmishes for practice that they wouldn’t let their fighting skills get rusty.
Do you know what? It’s the same way with us. These daily battles that we face are meant to keep our spiritual lives in fighting shape! They knock off some of our rough edges, stretch our faith, give us empathy for others and remind us of our dependence on God.
When we consider our difficulties in light of this reality, we can understand how James could instruct us to consider our trials “pure joy.” Sometimes our trials are really God wisely keeping us in peak battle condition.