One way I love to study the Bible is to take a small portion of scripture and read it, then study it, then read it again and take it deeper. Because I often miss a life changing scripture as I try to take in large chunks of God’s word.

This morning was one of those times.

Dear brothers and sisters, when trouble comes your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. (James 1:2)

A familiar scripture. One that has proved faithful over the years. When I was sick with cancer. . . when I wrestled with sadness. . . when we were hit financially. . . when my son was injured by a drunk driver. . . my faith deepened as I trusted God moment by moment to live, and to trust no matter the outcome.

Those were hard times.

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. (James 1:3-4)

I was about to move on to verse 5 and 6 and further, but felt that gentle nudge stop me. So I read that verse again. And the word “perfect” stopped me.

Perfect, really?

Is it possible that when you hit hard times, and you put your trust in God that one result is perfection? Maybe, like me, you stumble over that word because it seems prideful. No one is perfect, so what is this scripture trying to show you and me?

When you dig deeper, it simply means that when hard times hit and God becomes the focus, helping us, showing us the way, that we receive the full effect of what He offers during those times.

And the result is maturity. We become fully developed through Him.

I’m watching a friend right now walk through one of the hardest times of her life. No one could prepare her for what was ahead, and it wasn’t her fault, or her choice.

She shared with me that one morning she woke up and all that she had to do, all that she had to wade through, weighed heavy. But in that moment she danced. Just a twirl. Just a moment of lifting her hands to God. Just a moment of sheer praise in the midst of darkness.

And suddenly this scripture makes so much sense! Because that’s perfection. It’s the full effect of what we are promised when we trust in God during hard times. Joy in the midst of darkness. Supernaturally experiencing all that God has to offer in spite of what we see, feel, or face in the days ahead.

Maybe this morning you woke up and you felt anything but perfect. But what if today you refocused just a tiny shift from your heartache to Him?

He’s waiting for you. To move you from deep in the heart of trouble to deep in the heart of maturity, of growth, of gaining the full effects of who God is in the midst of your pain.

The winner of Friday’s giveaway is: Audria (I have sent an email to Audria congratulating her!)