Contemporary English Version (CEV)
We're going to take a little break from Genesis and turn to James, a book packed with wisdom. It starts out pretty tough, telling us to be glad if we have trouble, because that means we're learning to endure.
I certainly don't look at my struggles that way. I see them as obstacles poured into my life, making it harder for me to achieve my goals. They are stumbling blocks, difficulties. Here, though, we're called to think about what those goals are. Are we striving for material things, or are we striving to build character that can honor God in all times? Are we trying to become more like Christ, who endured suffering so that others might benefit, thus learning about the selfless love of God? Is that our first goal?
Our hearts often get so confused and led astray. We end up pursuing material stuff and forgetting about our heart's true desires. Suffering can reveal this, and it can teach us about what truly matters. So may we pray and ask God for wise perspective, that we may endure with joy, focusing our vision on our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationship with others.