August 29: How Tough Circumstances Can Make Us More Fully Alive

Read James 1:1-4

To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion. (James 1:1)

Their circumstances had them living in exile. Dispersed throughout the Roman Empire because of Herod Agrippa’s fierce persecution, Christ-following Jews knew the meaning of “various trials.” In fact, the pivotal event of the Dispersion itself offered them all kinds of opportunity to become more fully alive.

God was moving His hand and working complete and real life in His people as they faced this pivotal circumstance. Living away from the home that had been theirs for hundreds and hundreds of years.

When Agrippa killed James in Acts 12, he had hoped to kill off the life Jesus had given to His followers.  Arresting and imprisoning Peter was no doubt intended to shut them up and squelch whatever fire of life might still be alive in them.

But God had different plans.

In fact, He used Herod Agrippa and the pivotal circumstances of his persecuting ways as a catalyst for His church to grow and know life more fully than ever. The persecution that led to the Dispersion of Christ-following Jews away from Jerusalem and into the rest of the Roman Empire led to the spread of the Good News about Jesus Christ into places that would have otherwise never known.

So God brought more life through the terrible circumstance of Christian persecution.

It’s hard to imagine suffering and trials as catalysts for more life, but God works in ways that you and I would never guess. He uses those trials to make us more complete.

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. (James 1:3-4, MSG)

The truth is, if we let God use those difficult but pivotal circumstances for His purpose, we will find fuller life in Him. He will make us more fully alive!

The Christians James wrote to faced a life of exile and persecution. But they could trust that He was working to produce endurance in them, making them complete and mature, lacking nothing. Like them, so we can trust that God, in His perfect and sovereign way, is making us fully alive through every circumstance we face.

If only we will let Him.