This morning’s devotion comes from Rev. Paul Walker’s “Almost Daily Devotional,” delivered to inboxes…almost daily. Grateful for today’s message:

“Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.”

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

Let’s be honest. “Pure joy” seems like a stretch. But you could look at it this way — the chance of hardship coming into your life is 100%. You have had, are having, and will always “face trials of many kinds.”  You don’t have to schedule a visit to Monty Python’s Office of Argument and Abuse in order to have opportunities for this kind of “pure joy.” Avoiding difficulty just isn’t an option.

So, what? Per the Serenity Prayer, we’re back to acceptance. Accepting the things that cannot be changed and accepting hardship as a pathway to peace. James tells us that trials will result in perseverance, which will end in a kind of fulfillment. Note the subject-object use in that verse. Perseverance is doing all the work (i.e. God); we just sit back and “let” it happen. And, if we can somehow manage to crack a smile during the whole shebang, then so much the better.

“O merciful Father, who has taught us in your holy Word that you do not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men: look with pity upon the sorrow of your servants. Remember us, O Lord, in mercy, nourish our souls with patience, comfort us with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon us, and give us peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (For A Person in Trouble or Bereavement – BCP p. 831)