The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger-but recognize the opportunity. These motivational words were spoken by John F. Kennedy during a campaign speech in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 12, 1959. That charismatic young man would become the 35th president of the United States. Although those who have a mastery of the Chinese language, along with native Chinese speakers, would class this translation as a linguistic faux pas of sorts, an inaccurate interpretation of those delicate Chinese characters, the danger/opportunity meme has been so widely adopted by politicians and businessmen alike that the alternative translation has become acceptable.
The same comparison can be employed on this journey called the Christian walk. James, in his epistle, was writing to the “twelve tribes which (were) scattered abroad,” the Diaspora, dispersed Jews who were living outside the land of Israel, in Gentile countries. These Jews were in a no-win situation, seldom accepted by their countrymen, often abused by the Roman-controlled world, and held less standing than a slave in most places. Some of these Jews likely included former members of James’ church at Jerusalem, but now have been scattered, forced to flee, due to the unbearable persecution raining down upon them. In this setting, James opens his letter by immediately encouraging those suffering saints to consider that what may be viewed as a calamity in their eyes, could be perceived as an opportunity through the eyes of faith. Even though the early church was enduring severe persecution, James exhorts his readers to “count it all joy.” Joy? How can we rejoice when pressed, pounded, and prodded, in constant crisis-mode? Problems become purposeful only when viewed through the lens of God’s perspective.
James lists three opportunity outcomes resulting from “the trying of your faith,” and one is “patience.” Although that crisis may cause us a temporary struggle, it is God’s pathway to a necessary end goal, as He reminds us that “ye have need of patience,” endurance, continuance, steadfastness, the ability to bear long. Another fruit produced in the chaos of crisis is maturity, “that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing;” we often find our way to spiritual adulthood through the doorway of our sufferings. But best of all, James reminds us that God’s richest reward for the “man that endureth temptation” is yet to come…“the crown of life.” A crown, imagine that! A crown, not to honor ourselves, but to cast down “before the throne,” in humble worship and praise directed to the One Who has sustained us through that trial, the One Who will receive “glory and honour and power.”
Are you in the midst of a faith-stretching crisis? If you aren’t at the moment, be assured that a trial is just down the road a bit, and it will rear its head when you are least suspecting and most vulnerable. The choice will then be yours. Will that crisis present itself as a danger to fear, or an opportunity to grow? Let’s ponder a perspective change, and make the most of that crisis situation by enduring the test, maturing in our walk, and pursuing that crown!
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
Lord, give me eyes to view that trial as an opportunity, not a danger. Keep me enduring, trusting, depending on You, even when the road is the darkest.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1868-63d9e1a94b8f0' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1868&origin=wp.blog.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1868-63d9e1a94b8f0' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1868-63d9e1a94b8f0' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>