As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. - James 5:10
We all need examples to follow. Since we’ve been children, we look to how other people are managing a situation, and we use that as a guide. We may not be as obvious about it now, but we still do it all the time. This is the reason we find such comfort in talking to people who have endured similar trials to us. They teach us how to endure, they give us hope that God will be with us through it all.
There are many examples for how to manage trials out there, so it’s important we surround ourselves with godly people who manage their trials with His guidance. Whether we recognize it or not, we pick up the mannerism and mindset of the people around us. If we are around people who respond to difficult situations chaotically, we will respond chaotically as we face our own challenges. The people we do life with influence our responses and our faith. You should have at least one or two people in our lives whom you’ve witnessed walk through significantly difficult trials with their eyes on the Lord and provide an example for how to follow Him when it’s hard.
My example for how to respond in the trial facing cancer comes specifically from a pastor from my previous church. I served under him at the time he walked through a difficult diagnosis. Over the course of a few years, he was diagnosed with two different types of cancer, and in the middle of it, his wife was also diagnosed with cancer. The cancer eventually took his life. Though it all, his eyes were so firmly fixed on the Lord that he drew those around him to the Lord. He consistently shared stories of God’s goodness and mercy in His life, and he constantly asked how he could pray for others. Even as the prognosis was terminal, he joyful countenance did not change. I remember thinking at the time that I wanted to have his faith. To be able to so boldly look in the face of such devastating news, with complete faith and trust in the goodness of the Lord was inspiring to me. It profoundly impacted me and influenced my response when I was diagnosed. He was who God brought to when I received my diagnoses.
Here, James reminds us to look to the prophets as examples of how to endure pain and suffering in our lives. To be able to do that, you need to be in the Word consistently. Far too often, Christians move through their days with reaching for His Word, but turn to Scripture when the trials hit. They flip through the pages, struggling to find God’s truths to help them in the crisis, and often find it challenging to find his wisdom or peace. When you are in His Word daily, He has the opportunity to prepare you for what is coming. He will take you to the stories of the prophets you need to hear before you walk through a trial so that you have the example to follow already at hand. There are countless stories of difficult trials from my life that I have been able to endure because God has just walked me through the scriptures that I needed to read, then He brought them to mind at the moment I needed them.
Our God is good and faithful to help us endure the challenges of life. We just need to look where He is pointing.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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