Why is this happening to me?
This question typically comes during times of trial. When facing difficulty, we often think God is out to get us, or that we’ve sinned and he’s punishing us. But sometimes trials just come. And when they do come, James offers hope.
James first demanded an attitude adjustment by saying, count it all joy (1:2). Then, he provided hope by pointing out the reason for joy. Trials bring benefits. That sounds strange, but he identified at least two. First, trials produce steadfastness. Second, trials produce maturity.
Some translations use perseverance, patience, or endurance. But steadfastness is the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances. It’s like a sports team enduring rigorous workouts in preparation for game day. Or soldiers persisting in basic training in preparation for the battles of war.
James wanted his readers to know and understand this. We can adjust our attitude to joy in the face of trials because they produce in us the capacity to bear up. Daily Christian living requires this type of perseverance, but so does the missionary task.
In places like Spain, the majority of the 47 million people claim to follow Roman Catholicism. However, in the last 40 years, Spain has followed the trend of secularization that dominates much of Western Europe. The church as Spaniards know it is in decline. Some estimate that 25% profess no religious affiliation. Nearly half of all teenagers claim to be atheist or agnostic. People are disillusioned with Christianity. Less than 1% know Christ as Savior.
Why is this happening in Spain? The simple answer is the depravity of man. The simple solution is Jesus’ gospel message. But this cultural landscape makes it difficult. The faith of our missionaries is tested daily. Yet they count it all joy. They continue in perseverance. They ask the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers.
This week, let’s pray:
“Heavenly Father, I feel overwhelmed by the need for more missionaries. But I know that you can meet this need. I ask that you raise up laborers for your harvest field. Show me what I can do to be a part of that.”
Prayer requests for Spain:
- Pray for God to raise up laborers to bring the gospel to Spaniards lost in secularization.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to open hearts and eye as the gospel is shared.
- Pray for the missionaries in Spain to experience joy in the midst of the difficult spiritual climate.
Set a daily reminder at 9:38 to pray, and receive weekly encouragement to guide your prayers.