By: Steve Becker

James 1:2-4, MSG

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.


All of us go through challenges in our lives. There is much to be gained if we take advantage of them. Here are two important things to remember:

1.    God never forsakes those who abandon themselves to him and put their trust in him.

2.    All that occurs is permitted by God, even the bad things; however, he turns all to the advantage and profit of those who love him.  (See Romans 8:28)

Just as the Father took the bad that was done to his son and turned it into the ultimate victory, he continues to do so in our lives and for his kingdom when we abandon ourselves to him. Tough times are the best opportunities to show fidelity. We prove our faithfulness in bad times, not good times.

In my family, we have personally been through difficult times (loss of grandchildren, major surgeries for another, break-up of a business partnership, politicized work environments, layoffs, business downturns, etc.) and he has accomplished much good in and around us.

God is present for us during these times. He is never hidden for very long. There are almost always signs of his daily care; it might be an understanding look from someone, a generous act of consideration or an unexpected, slight turning of events. Though fragmentary and seemingly unconnected, they’ve revealed God’s presence to us.

These small signs reinforce the conviction to persevere when his perceived absence seems past enduring. Over time, we’ve learned to heed the rest of the advice from James:

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who ‘worry their prayers’ are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open. (James 1:5-8, MSG)


TAKE THE CHALLENGE: What difficulties are you facing, especially at work? Are you considering it a gift? Open your eyes for the signs of God’s presence today. Abandon your fate to the Lord.