It is so much easier to talk about suffering or trials “in theory.”
This week it got personal for us.
And all those Scripture passages that I have read before and secretly hoped to never have to experience…
And yet…I am finding myself surprised by joy.
Yes, I said joy.
James 1:2-4 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
The joy is not the trial- but rather what I believe in faith will be the outcome.
We will grow in faith and trust. God will draw us closer to him- refining us and perfecting us for his good purpose- for his glory.
And that is good.
That does not mean that the struggle has ended. Every moment I find myself battling fears. And the desire to try to claim some semblance of control over the situation.
I feel powerless.
Pruning is painful.
The future is uncertain- I don’t know what lies ahead.
God has reminded me- every day- the future is uncertain. And I have realized how much I find security in the job, the insurance, the source of income that’s consistent and seems dependable- more than I depend on my loving and faithful God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Job or no job…He hasn’t changed.
Oh God- may I grow in faith. Give me eyes to see all the things that I depend on more than you. Strip it all away till you are truly my highest hope, my only solid rock.
I wanted to share the verses that have bolstered me up during this time. I pray that if you are presently walking through a trial- they will bless and encourage you too.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.
Eyes on Jesus.
J.I. Packer puts it this way- “perseverance requires…a sustained exertion of concentrated effort day in and day out- a single-minded, whole-hearted, self-denying, flat-out commitment to praising and pleasing the Father through the Son as long as life lasts.”
Quite an ambitious goal- only by His grace.
Hebrews 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
It is ok to get emotional. Pour out your heart to God- just as Jesus did. (Ps. 62:5-8)
Hebrews 6:19 We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.
J.I. Packer talks about Jesus as our “living hope” (1 Peter 1:3) and in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul praises the church for “… your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This inspires me and reminds me that God is calling me to continue working today, as he called me to before my husband lost his job. I am called to serve him and to trust him fully for whatever comes my way.
My hope has not changed. My God has not changed. His Sovereignty is just as present today as it was 5 days ago when I still believed my husband had a job and we had a steady income.
Romans 5:3-5 “…we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
God will not disappoint us. Those who trust in him will not be ashamed.
James 1:2-4 My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4 and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.
I have to end this post with James. This was the passage God gave me 3 times before I found out my husband was going to lose his job. He was preparing me and I believe also asking me to journey with him through this- to grow in faith- to abide. To hold on tight and cling to him during this storm. To trust him to steer our life and take us into uncharted waters.
And there lies the joy.
So, with weak knees and a humble heart I pray today- yes, Lord. I will go with you. Where you lead me, I will follow.