Summary: James gives us some good reasons why we really should embrace the storms in our lives. Without the storms we would be weak and incomplete.
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, "Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!"
John answered, "I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life."
"But you must!" implored his companion. "The bull is catching up to us."
"All right," panted John, "I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ’O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.’"
It’s hard to be thankful when you know you are getting ready to receive something painful! This morning we will finish our series on weathering the storms. Last night we looked at what to remember when you feel caged in by the circumstances and storms in your life. The first thing we said is to don’t let it steal your song. Just like Paul and Silas, who were put in prison and beaten and flogged. In the midst of their caged in experience there they were singing hymns and praying to God. You want to talk about someone who had the right to stop singing, they did. But they refuse to let the circumstances of their situation steal their song. We need that same resolve in the midst of our storms. When they were singing and praying to God the scriptures said that the others were watching them. We need to remember as well, that we are on display. When we are going through the storms people are watching us to see how we react in those times. We need to remember that we can have a real impact for God. The other thing that we should remember is that whatever your storm is God is gonna setcha free. God has a history of setting people free from their storms. When He does your freedom will have an impact on others. The jailor who witnessed it all said what must I do to be saved. Throughout the scriptures when other people saw God at work and setting His people free, they were enlightened about just how powerful the one true God really is.
Now this morning I want to close up by looking at why the struggles we go through in this life are worth the trouble. I know I said right after the joke I told that it’s hard to be thankful when you know you are getting ready to receive something painful, but in essence that is what our scripture asks us to do this morning.
These verses are so rich. But here we go, James said we should consider the trials that we face with pure joy! Maybe that was how Paul and Silas was able to keep their song in the midst of the suffering and persecution they were going through. Does it mean that you walk around all bubbly saying, “Yeah, my life is falling in around me and I couldn’t be happier!!” I think the joy that is being referred to isn’t necessarily a giddy joy, but an inner joy and confidence that you know God is in control. But here are some things that we see in the text that let’s us know that struggles are worth going through. Let’s look at verse 3 again. In talking about the trials it says, “ because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” Now there are two things in this verse that I see, we will look at one now. The first thing about why the struggles are worth it is this: Without the struggles your faith is never tested. If you want to know how genuine and real your faith is, there is nothing like struggles to find out. Peter even alludes to it in I Peter 1:6,7 when he says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by the fire--maybe proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” There is nothing like the fire of trials and storms to find out just how much faith you have. You know it would be incredibly easy to serve God if every thing went your way and nothing ever went bad. Although after a while I think you might have a tendency to take those blessings for granted and might even forget where they came from. If God was some sugar daddy who gave you everything you wanted and made your life a bed of roses things would definitely be different, but not necessarily better. How is your faith ever going to grow stronger if it never has a time that you really have to depend upon it. Let me ask you, let’s look at Gideon. Gideon had a storm going on in his life. His people were being just abused by the Midianites. Gideon was so scared that he was hiding in a wine press. God came to Gideon and said I want you to be the person to lead your people to victory over the Midianites. Gideon had some real issues here with himself. And when you have issues with whether or not you can do something, then you have issues with God as well, because you are saying to God, “I don’t believe you can do all things.” I don’t think I’m the person you can use here. But God convinces Gideon to give things a try after some fleeces. Gideon starts off with thousands of soldiers, but through a process of weeding out God leaves Gideon with 300 soldiers to take on an army that had thousands and thousands. I’ll be if Gideon didn’t follow what God wanted to the tee and God used them to defeat the Midianites. Gideon was no longer the same because His faith was tested and He passed. It was a struggle, but without that struggle Gideon would have still been in a winepress afraid for his life and his faith not making much of a difference. But Gideon through his obedience went on to make the Hebrews Hall of Faith. Job was a man that the devil said he had his doubts about. He said, “God the only reason he is so faithful and wonderful to you is that you bless everything he touches. Let him have some struggles in his life and lose some things that really means something to him and then see how he acts. Most of us know, that Job went through some incredible struggles as the devil took his family, his possessions, his friends were accusing of him living in sin, why else would God allow these things to happen to Him. Yet Job, as tough as it was held on to his faith in God and was blessed through it in the end. Now Job is known for his great faith. He would have never been known for his great faith if his life continued to be a bed of roses and he never had any adversity. We should be glad for what God can do through those trials. So yes, struggles are worth it, because without it your faith would never be tested.