I am very blessed and thankful to help pastors and churches as a coach with a national nonprofit consulting company. Since COVID-19 disrupted our lives, we have weekly team video meetings with the 51 team members.

At this week’s meeting, one of the owners read James 1: 2-4 from the Bible. James wrote, “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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

After reading this passage, the owner said, “As I look back on my life, God has matured me through storms and seasons.” I grabbed a pen and wrote that down. I’m sure what he said after that was good, but my mind froze right there. I quickly thought back on my life to determine if I would say the same. As I look back on my 35 years since high school graduation, I would 100% say that God has helped me mature and grow through storms and seasons more than any other time. During those storms and seasons, I learned more, developed positive habits, my faith grew in significant ways; even when I didn’t see it until the storm ended and the season passed.

Storms represent difficulties, hard days, heart-breaking circumstances. Seasons represent a longer time period, not a day, moment, or instant. God uses hard days and seasons, when we may be tempted to give up, to mature us. I don’t like this, but it is true. I have seen it and experienced it.

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In our society, we desire quick results. Why lose a pound a week for 50 weeks when I can lose 50 pounds in a few months? We are willing to sprint to the finish line with a clear goal in mind, but we tend to lose focus, fizzle out with frustration, or lash out at God or others when we discover the race is more of a marathon. That is so unfortunate. The result of course is immaturity.

Matt Maher sings one of my current favorite songs that has kept me “in the race” in recent months. The name of the song is “Alive and Breathing.” The chorus says, “Joy still comes in the morning. Hope still walks with the hurting. If you’re still alive and breathing, praise the Lord. Don’t stop dancing and dreaming. There’s still Good News worth repeating. So lift your head and keep singing, praise the Lord.”

I assume you are still alive and breathing, so why not praise the Lord? He is alive and working in your life. He is doing far more good in and through you and others than you can see. We will make it through this. What will this time make you? And me? Stronger? Bitter? Thankful? More mature? Will we lift our heads and praise God for the blessings we do experience? Will we keep singing? Will we keep dancing? Will we keep dreaming?

I pray that you will. God is for you. His love is unconditional. You are his most significant work of creation. He is inviting you onto the dance floor. Let’s dance and celebrate with him.