"Consider it pure joy
whenever you face trials of many kinds"
- James 1:2
Recently, I read a story about a botanist, who visited an orange grove where an irrigation pump had broken down. Since the season was unusally dry, many of the trees dried up and died due to the lack of water. Then, the botanist visited a neighboring orange grove, where the trees continued to flourish despite living in the same conditions. So, the botanist asked the orchard owner what made her trees so strong and sturdy.
The owner responded, "My trees are the same as my neighbors. However, I used my irrigation sparingly - ever since the trees were younger. This hardship caused my trees to send their roots deeper into the soil in search of moisture. As a result, my trees are the deepest rooted trees in the area. They are stronger, sturdier, and last longer than others."
While it's hard to understand suffering, faith gives us the ability to benefit from the trials we face in life. Faith reminds us that God can turn even the most painful droughts into opportunities for growth and blessing.
Last week, we considered the paradox of "counting it all joy" whenever we faced trials (James 1:2-4). We considered the benefits of the trials and temptations we face - to reveal us, grow us, and make us more like Christ.
This weekend, we'll focus on the importance of hearing God's word and putting it into practice.