Romans 12:12 (ESV)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
The blacksmith placed the iron into the fire. Once it was glowing red-hot, he used his tongs to remove it, and he struck it repeatedly with a hammer. Then . . .
Back into the fire until glowing . . .
Countless blows from the hammer . . .
Only to return to the fire once more.
Fire and hammer, fire and hammer—the blacksmith did this again and again until, at last, his work was complete. From a shapeless piece of iron he had fashioned a perfect horseshoe.
I love this image because it so perfectly captures the work God does to mold our character and make us more like Jesus. That message certainly seems to be what James was communicating in the first few verses of his book.
James wrote to Christians who were going through difficult times, and he had a radical message for them. He told his readers to consider their trials “pure joy” because the fire of adversity was the very tool God used to forge perseverance in their lives.
Most of us are familiar with the word perseverance. Maybe it makes you think of someone who keeps going even when the path gets rough or someone who stays on their diet all the way through the holidays. Both examples do show perseverance, but the Greek gives us a little more insight. In the original language of James 1:3, the word translated perseverance means “cheerful, or hopeful endurance; constancy.”
It is one thing to keep going no matter what; it is something far more beautiful to do so cheerfully and hopefully.
Are you going through a hard time today? You can safely trust that even though the fire of adversity is hot, your loving Savior holds you securely in His hand. He will be forever faithful to His work in your heart, endeavoring to bring forth cheerful, hopeful endurance in you.
Dear Lord, as we go through trials help us to face them with Joy. Give us the perseverance that we need to handle what is before us. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.