Giving Ourselves as Gifts: Sacrifice with Hope

What kind of trials have you experienced in life? I can find trials even right now, in the present moment. I’m anxious about finding a new job. I’m worried about how this devotion is going to turn out. I’m concerned about people I know who are physically sick or emotionally hurting.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,” says James 1:12. How does one remain steadfast under trials? It would be easy to try to take charge – to attempt to make the problems go away. I need a new job? Okay, I’m going to do nothing but hunt for jobs constantly until someone says yes. I need to write this devotion? Oh wait, I’m doing that right now, never mind. My friends are sick or hurting? Okay, I’ll go over there with soup and listen to their pain and make sure they are all right. It’s all about me, me, me and what I can do.

But that’s not true steadfastness under trial. Instead of focusing on me, on what I want to do, I should focus on what God’s plans are for me. That’s a sacrifice in and of itself – putting God and his intentions ahead of me and my intentions. Sometimes, all you can do it wait. Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to act. Sometimes he does, certainly, but not always.

The good news is, God’s plans are never bad. He has a plan for my next job, and it will be far better than anything I could come up with. He has a plan for my friends who are sick and hurting, and it will be far better than my soup would be. He has a plan for you – whatever trial you are in, he is bigger than it and he will take care of it. James 1:12 ends with this: “for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” Maybe our trials won’t be taken care of it this life, but they certainly will in the next. This is not the end. Something much better and brighter is coming. We can make the sacrifice of putting ourselves aside and letting God in, because we have hope.