The Upper Room Devotional for 6th September 2023, Wednesday Message by Sam Whatley (Alabama, USA)
TOPIC: Embracing Obstacles
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. – James 1:2-3 (NIV)
For years I viewed health issues, career setbacks, and other difficulties as frustrating interruptions to the life I wanted. Every time I overcame a tough situation, another one sprang up, slowing my progress.
However, God helped change my attitude toward such challenges through an unlikely sport: dog agility. For over a decade I ran alongside Portuguese water dogs through winding courses filled with jumps, tunnels, and other obstacles. In agility competitions, speed is less important than successfully navigating each obstacle.
Both in dog agility and in life, I have learned that what is most difficult can prove most important. And thankfully we do not endure trials alone. Today’s reading from James teaches us that perseverance is developed through the testing of our faith during life’s trials and is key to making us “mature and complete.” It also reminds us that God’s guidance is available to all who seek it. Much like my dogs could master difficult agility courses when they sought my direction, I have discovered that I can better handle challenges when I direct my attention toward God. When we keep our focus on God, we can find joy even in life’s most unwanted interruptions.
Dear God, help us to see our difficult circumstances through your eyes, knowing that our struggles can help us grow to be more like Jesus. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Focusing on God will help me find joy no matter my circumstances.
Those facing challenges
More From Patrick Klingaman
The Upper Room Devotional for 6th September 2023 Message, is a daily devotional magazine published in more than 30 languages and 100 countries around the world. The daily meditations are written by readers of the magazine and others interested in sharing their faith experiences through writing—both laity and clergy, published authors and new writers. Read More.