Praise the LORD.
Blessed are those who fear the LORD,
who find great delight in his commands.
Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.
The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
The psalmist writes: "Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice." (Psalm 112:4-5)
Isn't that comforting? To know that even in our darkest moments, a dawn of light awaits. The key is trust in the Lord, which not only results in an awareness and reverence of God, but also an adherence to his ways which results in being upright, being people of grace, compassion, and righteousness.
The apostle James echoes this theme of steadfastness, especially in trials: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters," he writes, "whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." (James 1:2-3)
James suggests that trials, rather than being obstacles, can be catalysts for growth, refining our faith and producing perseverance. I know that sounds counterintuitive. The world often tells us to avoid problems and to seek comfort and ease. But both the psalmist and James suggest there's value in adversity.
It's not about seeking out hardship for its own sake but recognizing that when challenges come (and they will), they can be opportunities for growth, for refining our character, and deepening our trust in God.
James continues, saying, "Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" (James 1:4). If we are patient in our trials, trusting that God will take us through them, we will mature in our faith to the point that nothing will be able to shake us.
So, the next time we face a challenge, let us remember the words of the psalmist and James and remain steadfast.
God bless you.