"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3
"The Lord disciplines those He loves" (Hebrews 12:6). When we realize that afflictions serve as steppingstones to glory, we no longer ask, "Why me, Lord?" but "Why not me, Lord?"
Afflictions can hurt or help. The key is to view them from the vantage point of Christ's own cross. Jesus Himself bore the cross before entering His glory. By His grace, we who follow in His footsteps will tread the same path.
God allows burden-bearing to increase our reliance on the sufferings of Christ for our salvation, to polish us toward perfection, to intensify our prayer life, and to bring us closer to Himself. Our adversities are not punishments to pay for our sins. Jesus Himself bore all our punishments for us: "The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).
God will see to it that we gain more than we lose. Bitter tears now will turn into glistening diamonds, mournful sorrows into jubilant song. We should remember our Lord's promise: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
PRAYER: Dear Lord, when troubles arise and shadows fall, remind me that You are preparing me for the glory ahead. Amen.
(Taken from "Words of Promise," copyright 1996 (out of print), Concordia Publishing House. For information on other devotional materials, call 1-800-325-3040.)
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