James 1:2-3 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”
“No bird can soar in a calm.” These words were written by one of Dayton, Ohio’s famous sons, Wilbur Wright. The Wright brothers spent years developing an invention that could fly through the sky. According to Wikipedia, Orville and Wilbur are “credited with inventing, building and flying the world’s first successful motorized airplane.” In order to understand the technology needed to allow their craft to become airborne, Wilbur spent many hours watching and recording information about birds in flight. One of many breakthroughs came when he realized that wind gave the lift needed to allow a bird to soar through the air.
Birds and airplanes are not the only things that need moving air in order to soar. People can also thrive when they are faced with a strong wind. Those who only experience calm in life are apt to become complacent or too comfortable. These have no impetus to learn and grow. But those who experience difficulties and struggle forward through the storm find they soon reach an altitude where they can spread their wings and ride the wind.
James encouraged a group of struggling Christians to find joy in the trials they suffered. He knew that these very trials would test their faith, and through them they would develop perseverance. The strong winds of life would prove their character, strengthen their resolve, and develop maturity. They would find that God could and would sustain them in their times of trouble. This would grow their faith even more causing them to soar above the very difficulties they were enduring.
These past few weeks we have been facing some strong winds with the progression of the COVID-19 virus. Even this week the velocity picked up as our governor signed a “stay at home” order for Ohio residents. I, like many others, have wondered how we will keep on in the midst of this trial. How will we keep our business going? Will any of our family develop symptoms? When will we be able to join our friends in large groups again? This is a complete disaster … or is it?
James tells us we must change our perspective. In faith we should joyfully consider our circumstances an occasion to trust God more. This will develop our perseverance and character. Trying days ahead may be the very opportunity we need to launch into a new realm of growth impossible during unruffled days of normalcy.
So spread your wings, point your face into the wind, and get ready to fly. Because in the words of Wilbur Wright, “No bird can soar in a calm!”