2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Okay, right off the bat let’s just say that I’m still working on this one, all right? I’m a long way from the “pure joy” phase in my reactions to most trials. In fact, it would be more accurate to say that I’m trying to move forward out of the kicking, screaming, fussing, cussing, self-pitying, woe is me phase. Why is that, you reckon? Immaturity? Failure to believe? Failure to perceive?
I’d guess most folks would probably accept a “because I’m human?” response on this one. I’d also guess for most and know for me that we’d sort of like to just be “mature and complete” without having to go through the process. But it just doesn’t work that way.
Most runners, hoopsters, gridiron grungers, leaping lungers, and an assortment of other athletes will readily acknowledge that there is no shortcut to developing stamina. Or perseverance, if you please. Hours and miles of training, of pushing ourselves beyond our current comfort level and even limits are necessary to develop the ability to go the distance. Late in the game, it shows.
Back in my prime when I was just sixty, I pushed myself in physical training in order to compete in mud runs like Warrior Dash, Rugged Maniacs, and Tough Mudder. After months of daily training—pain and strain—I was able to complete a four-mile course without having to take “walking breaks.” No, I didn’t run fast the whole time, but I did run.
Isn’t being mature and complete in Christ much more important than a mud run or some other recreational sport or physical goal?
The. Only. Way… is through trials and testings. If we look beyond the present circumstance and see the ultimate outcome, we can grow to the point of embracing those events because we know they lead us to the goal.