Today I’d like to touch on steadfastness. This will be a short reflection because mostly this verse is self-explanatory.
James 1:12 says “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
What the “crown of life” he speaks of is thought to be different things, depending on the scholar you’re reading. Some think it’s a special reward in eternity for those that don’t waver in trying circumstances. There are other mentions of “crowns” in 1 Corinthians, 1 Peter, 2 Timothy and revelation.
I don’t know if it’s that complicated though. Maybe it’s just that when you’ve withstood the trial, you come out the other side of it stronger in your faith. The trial generates its own reward?
The trials we face in this life, no matter our country, our century, serve to prune off the unproductive parts of us. Sometimes it’s like ripping off bark to the tender wood beneath, exposing it to the elements. Those who don’t remain steadfast, rot and disintegrate. (Kind of like most of the trees in Middletown…) Those who do remain steadfast grow taller, larger, and stronger than before.
We’re all facing trials right now. For some it’s harder than for others. Me, I’m trying to focus on the good things that come with being forced to stand down, so-to-speak. Things like getting my house clean, clearing out closets, enjoying the peace and quiet of my home and sitting at my beautiful blue desk by the big window writing Words of Encouragement. That doesn’t mean I’m not struggling with some things.
But I also have a husband and college-age son around. Some people are home with small, restless children who are already stir-crazy. Others are home alone with no one to talk to or worry about them. Still others are home sick, battling this virus, or some other illness that they can’t get care for because hospitals are busting at the seams with patients. And maybe the hardest…some are home mourning loved ones for whom they cannot even attend a funeral.
Whatever your particular trials are, hold steadfast through them. Turn your focus to God. Reach out (virtually, with hand sanitizer, latex gloves, hazmat suits…then wash your hands 5 minutes after) to those around you who are having it rougher than you. Call or text or Facebook someone you know needs some encouragement.
The bark’s been ripped off. Let’s see what can grow now.