Tuesday, July 1, 2008
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing (or proving) of your faith produces patience. But let that patience have its perfect (or completing) work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
Trials will surely come. They will be painful. They will even be painful to watch in the lives of those we love.
Last week, as we were reading our nightly Bible, we read about Paul. Everywhere he traveled the Holy Spirit was testifying that he would be arrested and suffer in Jerusalem. His friends begged him not to go. They did not want to see their friend suffer. And we thought of the Fletchers.
We read Paul's response. Do not prevent me. I am ready to suffer and even to die for Christ! And as Paul was arrested he knew that this was part of God's sovereign plan. It was ordained by his loving Heavenly Father. Because he trusted this, his focus was not on escaping the trial, but rather in leaving the gospel behind. We see that in the Fletchers as well.
As we grow in our faith, we begin to see the patience James describes developing in us. We are opened up and instead of trying to wiggle away, we look up to the Great Physician in hopeful expectation. We experience the pain, but we trust that a loving Heavenly Father is doing a work. He is beautifully orchestrating all things together for our good. All things. This is a true and trustworthy statement.
As I went through another miscarriage last year I felt that sweet surrender to the pain. In fact, as I found myself thanking Him through the worst of the physical pain, I realized that He truly does provide grace as we need it. That next Sunday as I sang “All I have needed, they hand has provided” I realized- through tears- that I had grown to trust Him more. And yet I know I don't yet trust Him enough. He is still teaching me how very trustworthy He is.
If we could see the end from the beginning as God can we would say, continue Lord! But of course, we do not clearly see the end yet. While we hurt and we cling to Christ our trust in Him proves that we are those that have not seen and yet have believed. We are the blessed Christ talked about.
As a child I saw trial. I watched helplessly as our family plummeted into poverty. With the absence of our earthly provider a Heavenly Provider emerged.
I vividly remember our family returning home from an outing to find a bag of groceries left anonymously on our porch. “It must have been someone from the church” my mom said. Someone had left us food without even expecting credit? And in my mind I would think, “there must be a God” if people would live like that.
As I watched my mom in trial I saw her turn to Christ for the first time. Broken and empty she would disappear into her room. But after time in God's Word and prayer she would emerge a different woman. One renewed and at peace. And my mind would think- “there must be a God” to do that in a person.
There were many things the Lord used to ultimately bring me to faith in Him. But these seeds, sown in trial, were very significant to my understanding of Him and His care for His children. The Balm that soothed my mother's pain and the Provider that kept us from hunger continued to be reminders in my mind. There must be a God.
And I wonder today, what does God have in mind for this trial~ and the many other trials that He has lovingly placed in our friends lives these recent years?
He is reminding me again to trust in His goodness. He is at work completing us.
May God bless you as you lead little hearts home.
Labels: god is good