Finding Joy in Tribulations

Cancer is a serous illness that affects many, many people around the world. It has affected several people in my life, and I’m sure many in most everyone’s. And it’s not only cancer, but many different illnesses and struggles plague the world today.

I have recently been taking someone very close to me to receive treatments at a cancer treatment facility in a nearby city. The first time I went, I felt a little awkward because I’m pretty healthy (thank the good Lord) and I didn’t know how others in their state would feel about that. I guess in my mind, I thought people get angry when they are diagnosed with such a life changing illness, but to my surprise it was a much different atmosphere.

As I’ve sat with them and watched and interacted with them, I have found that it is a very warm and loving environment. Despite their circumstances, these people are generally very happy. And I’ve really been thinking about that lately. How people in such difficult situations can have such a positive outlook on life.

As I was sitting down flipping through my Bible reading various passages the other night, I came across this verse in James: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (1:2) A quick reference check also brings up Romans 5: “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

And as I sat and thought about these passages, I couldn’t help but think about all those people I’ve been with at this treatment facility. This is exactly what I’ve seen there, and it should be exactly what I see among all Christians. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

We should use these times of struggle to build patience and to grow our faith and relationship with Christ. I see too many Christians, including myself at times, get beat down by the burdens in life and begin to give up hope. Their perseverance is lacking and they quickly get discouraged. But fellow Christians, I want you to stand patiently and endure your struggles. Take them to God in prayer. He knows your struggles. He knows your weaknesses. He knows exactly what you need. He is giving you an opportunity to strengthen your faith. To strengthen your character. Take advantage of this situation and grow. Let it build a bond between you and Him that is unbreakable. In doing so you will continue building hope. And that is something we can all use in such a time of great tribulation.

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