Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 NIV
We have all endured temptations and preserved through life’s trials, but some seem especially difficult. Saying goodbye to a family member too soon, watching a friend slowly die or suffer with an illness, poverty, war, homelessness, hunger, and pain are among of the trials we encounter, and there are many more. How close we live to pain and suffering. Yet, when we search our hearts, we can find a glimpse of happiness even in the most painful moments. Although it may be difficult, there is always something for which to be thankful, and there is always someone who has more difficult trials.
God does not bring pain and suffering, but people sometimes suffer because of their beliefs. John the Baptizer was beheaded after rebuking Herod for marrying Herodias, his niece and ex-wife of his brother (Mark 6:17–29). Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:54-60), as was James, the brother of Jesus. Peter was crucified upside down and Paul was beheaded. Other early disciples were crucified in various places. Christians have been cooked alive, dragged to death, skinned alive, sewn into skins and eaten alive by wild animals, starved, boiled, ground to death, had the inner organs eaten by pigs while alive and tortured in numerous other ways. Christians are still persecuted today.
So, one must wonder despite all these horrible things why has Christianity grown exponentially from the very beginning. Why are people willing to be tortured and killed without fighting back and all the while praying for those who persecute them? For me the answer is undeserved loving forgiveness and redemption from sin (grace) by faith that brings promises of eternal life. The faith carried by beliefs is so strong that we are able to face adversity in the steps of Jesus. James the Just, who was later stoned to death , said “[b]lessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). The good news is whether you are dying a martyr or living through every day trials, your love for the Lord will lead you to the “crown of life”. Keep the faith.
Have a super Saturday. God bless you.