Have you ever experienced a really bad storm? I’m not talking about a few inches of rain or some minor wind damage. I mean torrential flooding, ear-splitting thunder, and damage so extensive that locals forever dub that storm “the big one.”
When it comes to storms of life, cancer was my “big one.”
Before cancer, whenever the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” came up in conversation, I hadn’t thought too long and hard about it. Everything was part of God’s plan. What other answer did I need?
But as I spent hours in hospitals and chemotherapy treatments, I couldn’t help but think about it. God led me to James 1:3 where I discovered the answers I was searching for.
In today’s excerpt from my book, Why? Answers to Weather the Storms of Life, I wanted to share with you what I found.
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One of the big questions in my life as I fought cancer was, “Why does God allow storms or trials in our lives?” I’ve studied why Christians suffer, why bad things happen to good people. And I learned that there is a purpose.
Again, why does God allow trials in our lives? So that He can examine, scrutinize, and put our faith to the test. “Testing” means “proving” or “trying” — the same kind of testing as a refiner’s fire that burns out all the alloys from precious metal. All the impurities must be burned away to get to “the good stuff.” It’s the same with you and me.
God allows testing in our lives for good … to prove the quality of our character. As we commit ourselves to Him, He allows our impure motives and conduct to be removed from our lifestyles.
According to James, the “testing” develops “perseverance.” Perseverance is the prize. It can also be described as “patience” and “endurance.”
Perseverance, patience, and endurance — three qualities that are necessary for victory in our lives — just don’t grow overnight; they must be developed.
There are two things we need to know about the characteristic of perseverance that God wants for our lives.
First, perseverance is not deliverance FROM trials … it is endurance IN trials.
We have a tendency to think that any time a problem comes our way, all we have to do is pray and God will instantly deliver us from all our problems.
Of course, sometimes God will do that to prove His power. There are plenty of examples of miracles in the Bible and modern-day testimonies to prove that God has the power to take care of any need. But most of the time, God wants to produce patience in our lives. And patience is not being delivered from the problem. Patience is learning to endure the problem.
Patience is not deliverance; it’s endurance! We must persist and be dogged in our determination to find God’s will and purpose in the trial. Success comes to the persistent in any arena.
Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before he got financing for his dream of creating the “Happiest Place on Earth.” Colonel Sanders spent two years driving across the United States looking for restaurants to buy his chicken recipe. He was turned down 1,009 times!
They stuck with it and survived the disappointments.
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That was the first lesson God taught me about perseverance during the biggest storm of my life. He also taught me that endurance is a process, which I’ll share more about in the next excerpt.
If you’d like to read more of Why? Answers to Weather the Storms of Life, you can order your copy today for just $8.99. As a thank you, you’ll also receive access to a free discussion guide and devotional to go along with it.
Whether you’re going through a small storm in your life today or you’re in the middle of “the big one,” my prayer for you is that, with God’s help, you will persevere!