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Welcome to DAY 2 of our online Bible study on James!

Click HERE to download our 25-Day Reading Plan on James!



— Read: James 1:2-4

I didn’t care much for tests when I was in school. I don’t like them now either. But the tests I have now are life lessons. Things that shape and mold me into the person He wants me to be. A person that is evolving and becoming. And some these tests are hard. They inflict severe pain both emotional and physical.

In 1992, I buried my infant daughter. It had been a difficult pregnancy and I had been saying throughout the nine months that I thought something wasn’t right. Not wrong. Just not right. It would be a long nine months before I had my answer. In the end, I was right.

I wish I’d been wrong.

Burying Amy was the hardest thing I had ever done.

In 2006, my son was in an accident and received serious facial trauma. As I walked into that room in the hospital ER I wondered if my son would ever look like my son again.

In 2014, hard came in the form of a dying parent. And a serious illness. Since March of 2014 major life changes or issues have arisen and my faith has been tested. Every. Six. Months.

Life is hard. But the burden becomes lighter when I hold fast to Christ.

I have a desire for the hard stuff to stop.
I would like my stretching and pulling to end.
I want a break from the hard.

All the hard things are events that have shaped me into the person God wants me to be . . . the person I am becoming. A person created and designed by Him, using the exact specifications He wants. I am not finished growing and maturing. I am not a complete work yet . . . that will happen when He calls me home.

Until then, I will continue pressing forward. Continue persevering until the end. And I am learning to accept the things that have happened. To have peace with myself, my maker and the faith tests that have shaped me.

I recently read this quote:

“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Some days it doesn’t seem better. Some days I can’t find the joy. But all days I remember that God is completely trustworthy. I remember that His will doesn’t look like my will. I recognize that my hard may not end in 2017. That may not be His choice for me.

But by faith I can learn to find the joy in the hard.


— Diving Deeper —

According to James 1:2-4, what do perseverance and endurance produce?

When have you experienced His presence in the midst of a painful trial?


Share in the comments . . .


Mary Bonner

Mary has been married to her best friend, John, for over 30 years. They have a grown son and recently added a daughter-in-law. Mary currently lives in the Northeast, but a part of her heart is still in the Midwest. Mary writes about some of the heartbreaks she has experienced--the loss of a child, the loss of her parents, and a debilitating illness. But through it all, one thing has remained constant: The Lord’s comfort, peace, and strength.

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