Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”    (James 1:2-4)


    Testimony.  Testify.  Testament.  Testy. What word do they have in common?

    We all go through tests.  According to the Bible, faith tests are ultimately good for us.  A test is to bring out the best in us.  Tests grow our faith.  Tests strengthen our character.

    Billy Graham was quoted as saying, “When a ship’s carpenter needed timber to make a mast for a sailing vessel, he did not cut it in the valley, but up on the mountainside where the trees have been buffeted by the winds.  The trees, he knew, were the strongest of all.  Hardship is not our choice;  but if we face it bravely, it can toughen the fiber of our souls.”

    Here is something else to consider. Those trees on windy hills grow best in groups.  James 1:2-4 is addressed to a group of people, “brothers and sisters.”  We don’t go through tests alone. 

    I worked a logging project with Bill the rancher one time.  He pointed out to me as we were selecting trees to be harvested that trees grow best in clusters, in groups in that particular area.  I had always thought that thinning out trees with equal spacing to let them have room to grow was the best approach.  Not on windy ridges.  Trees in groups support each other in a way that the winds and storms make them stronger together and as individual trees.

    That is worth thinking about. That is worth talking about with a group of friends.


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