Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2 NLT
Noise, dirt, confinement. I swore I’d never work in a mill, but found myself deposited there nevertheless.
For four years, I did my stint with Greenwood Mills. Three of those years, I labored in the weave room. Unbearable noise ear plugs couldn’t drown out. Dust clinging to every crevice of my body. And looms that wouldn’t consistently run regardless of my best efforts.
Looms took thousands of threads and wove them into a solid piece of cloth, but one broken thread halted the process. Finding the broken thread was often a challenge, but once it was retied the loom functioned as intended. Small broken threads wreaked havoc in the weave room, causing production to drop if not rethreaded quickly.
My life runs somewhat as a loom does. Thousands of life events combine to make up my life, but one broken string disrupts the entire scene. For early Christians, persecution was the broken thread. James encouraged them and instructed them to consider their trials an opportunity for great joy. After all, they are following their Savior’s footsteps.
Trials disrupt our lives, just as one broken thread stops a loom. Divorce, death, financial crunches, unemployment, abuse, crushed dreams. Whatever the thread, when it breaks life either stops or changes drastically. Sometimes, the looms didn’t stop when a thread broke, and a flawed piece of cloth was the result.
My response to trials is crucial. I can stop or keep going in a flawed or healthy condition. Initial stops aren’t necessarily bad. Stopping gives me a chance to consult God. If sin has led to my life disruption, I need to confess and repent. If it hasn’t, I need to check with God for direction. Not doing so means I’ll keep going in a defective state, making unhealthy and unwise decisions.
No one enjoys trials. I can’t think of one I’d like to repeat. But God sees the finished product. He knows what He’s initiating or allowing into our lives. I may complain, but He knows what’s beneficial.
When the threads of life break, God is always willing to show us the escape route—and not necessarily a route that takes us out of the trail but one that enables us to endure it, learn from it, and become a little more spiritually mature along the way.
Learn to trust God, even when the threads of life fracture.
Prayer: Father, we trust You to guide us through life when the threads hold and when they rupture.