School Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…. Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial…   (James 1:2-4, 12)

What rich words from the letter of James!  So many people embrace James as their favorite book of the Bible and, from my experiences, it is the most requested book for a Bible study.  Christians in all stations of life appreciate the simplicity behind the text.  And so these opening words are familiar to many.  Too familiar to others.

We are three weeks into the school year and many are confronting the words of James head on.  In less than a month, my friends and colleagues have already faced “trials of many kinds.”  For example,

  • The church (and subsequently the school) hosted two funerals for fallen police officers in the community.  One of these officers was family of school staff and had strong ties to a number of our members.
  • One teacher’s grandfather died and she needed to drop her responsibilities, get on a plane, and fly to Alabama in the middle of the week.
  • One teacher has been sick all week and doctors now believe it is a festering case of lyme’s disease.
  • One teacher’s newly issued laptop did not work right out of box and has been without it for three weeks as the manufacturer makes repairs.
  • New teachers are feeling all the pressures of the job, trying to figure out the querky schedules and programs at our school while fighting little sleep in order to prepare lessons and grade papers.
  • Phone lines are dying sporadically and teachers are encountering incompatibility issues between the computer and their updated smartboard software.

Many around me are facing trials greater than I can imagine. Though my trials are not as publicly evident, I too am being tested in several ways.  So many are feeling the pressures, not only of the job but of life!  We mourn, but we also persevere.

In times like these, James urges us to “consider it pure joy.”  He says that we are “blessed.”  While it does not always feel that way, God is cultivating a greater maturity in us, both individually and corporately.  And if we persevere He is going to take our character, our families, our school to great heights.  Rarely can we comprehend the reason for suffering and trials, but there is always a greater plan at work behind the scenes.  This gives me reason to rejoice.