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Growing through the pain

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Here's a challenging Bible passage for us to consider:

When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. -James 1:2

You might be thinking surely this is a misinterpretation by the translators.  Nope.  It means exactly what it says.  So how is this even possible?  I know the first time I remember really reading this, stopping with a "Wait what????"

In my experience, I am learning that this is actually possible.  The reason troubles can be considered opportunities for great joy is because they are opportunities for great growth as a person - opportunities for great spiritual growth.  Here are three areas I have experienced great spiritual growth (reason for great joy) through my own times of trouble and stress:

1) Prayer.  Through very stressful and troubling times, such as the loss of a close family member or the loss of job, we have the opportunity to really grow in our prayer lives.  Some of us only pray when troubles come our way.  It is my opinion…