A New York boy was being led through the swamps of Louisiana by his cousin. "Is it true that an alligator won't attack you if you carry a flashlight?" The cousin smirked and replied, "Depends on how fast ya carry the flashlight."
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12
Happy is the man that endures trials. That is, joy comes to those who don’t give up or give in to temptation and trials. They’re going to be in our path every day like gators in a swamp. We may not have any control concerning their presence, but we do have the option of controlling ourselves. Trials don’t have to make us miserable. We can choose to rejoice because the trial has made us stronger, wiser, and closer to God. Trials have a way of getting us on our knees, where we “trust in the Lord and lean on His understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Notice the trials come before the crown. I read that two things bother men about suffering: disgrace and death, but suffering for God does not have those ends. According to the Word of God, there is honor and life, a crown of life! We’re not competing against each other in this race for a crown, but against ourselves.
“Do you not know that those who run in race all run but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” I Cor. 9:24
What does running to win look like? It looks like loving our Lord and loving others. That’s what pleases the Father: Love. That takes us back to the beginning of the verse: “blessed” or “happy.” If we’re not happy, maybe we’ve shut down because of some troubling event in your life. Maybe someone hurt you or maybe life hurt you, so now you’re focused on your pain. Maybe you’ve been like this for 3 days or 30 years, but any day without love is a dark day. There are people all around us that are existing in the darkness, some are reading this. You don’t have to stay in the darkness. You can choose to rise up and love the Lord with all your heart. You can choose to be happy as we choose to love. Life is not about trying to outrun trials, but overcoming the trials with love. Love will bring us out of the darkness.