Several years ago, a huge storm blew through Minneapolis, Minnesota. This blizzard brought strong winds, 23 inches of snow, and completely shut down the city. As the snow began to pile on the Metrodome (the stadium the Minnesota Vikings play in), engineers became seriously concerned about the roof. The result? The roof collapsed under the pressure of the snow (See Video Below).
Has your life ever felt like the Metrodome? The problems might start out as snowflakes, but when the pile up they often develop into one nasty blizzard. Before we know it the pressure of those problems feels overwhelming. Sometimes our collapse shows its ugly face in the form of extreme stress, sickness, meltdowns, depression, giving in, and giving up. It is horrifying to see how many issues and stressful situations people have to endure in this life, but it is a part of life.
In James 1:2-5, the people were encountering a variety of difficult trials. The word “encounter” literally refers to “falling into an unexpected condition.” This was not something they ever saw coming. Now James is trying to encourage the people not to give up and to keep pressing on. When we too encounter difficult times, here’s how to keep moving forward:
- Know That You Can Handle It (2 Peter 2:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13). No matter what form our trials come in, we can handle it; we can get through it. God is not going to put too much on our plate. It won’t be easy, but we can overcome any difficulty when God is on our side (Philippians 4:13).
- Know That You Are Not Alone (1 Peter 5:6-11). One of the worst parts about trials is feeling alone. This may be the biggest lie we tell ourselves. While every situation is unique, people go through the same types of problems every day. If we would reach out more to each other, we would find many have walked down a very similar road as us not too long ago and made it through.
- Know That You Will Be Stronger Afterward (James 1:2-5). Most things in life take stress, damage, and difficulty to become stronger and better. Even if we don’t see any benefit or lesson in our suffering initially, we will be stronger than when we started. When the situations we face come to an end, not only will we be better equipped to handle it if it ever happens again, but we will also be better equipped to help others.
- Know That God Is In Control (Romans 8:28; Isaiah 55:8-9). Try to look for the “silver lining” in these situations. We may be in the places we are for a reason. We may be dealing with our problems for a reason. The Lord has plans for people. Most men in Scripture are recognized because of what they overcame, how they displayed their faith throughout the difficulty, and how it fit into God’s plan. There should be comfort in knowing that God is in control and He will work everything out.
Why are we so inspired by people who overcome adversity? Because it gives us hope that we can do the very same thing. There are people right now who are weighed down with the blizzard of life. You could be one of them. Don’t give up. Don’t collapse under the pressure. There is light and warmth at the end of this cold, dark tunnel. Just remember: you can handle it, you are not alone, this will make you stronger, and God is in control.