Comfortable or Complete?

Is it my prayer to be made comfortable, or to be made complete?

The topic of joy and trials linked together has been on my mind lately, and since I haven’t shared one of these “on my heart” kind of posts in a while (it’s been mostly poetry, life updates, and trying to convince you to buy my books! XD), I thought I’d try to gather my ramblings into a blog post.

Can trials seriously be an opportunity to rejoice?

In spite of having James 1:2-4 memorized for years, I’ve been reading/recalling it wrong this whole time. In case you aren’t familiar with it, here it is…

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4

Honestly, whenever I read or recited this verse, most of the last part was drowned out by the first part: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials… And to be honest, I pictured this joy as a “grin and bear it” sort of thing. A grimacing endurance of hard times because we know that good things are ahead for us as Christians (see Hebrews 12:1-2).

But in listening to this message and recent sermons and small group discussions, it finally hit me that joy isn’t just something that we’re supposed to cling to as we weather the storms of life. It’s something that can be found because of the storm.

“…count it all joy…knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Sure, the trial itself isn’t any fun. At all. (Unless you love pain.) But we can rejoice in the fact that the trial will refine us, revealing to us our weaknesses and showing God’s strength through us, and ultimately conforming us more purely to His image.

“But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

I mean, if that’s not encouraging…

And this we also pray, that you may be made complete.

2 Corinthians 13:9b

Then this verse popped up in my Bible time the other morning, and it made me ask myself how often I pray to be made more mature, more complete, and then come crying to God when the very trials that will give me maturity slip (and sometimes pour!) into my life.

Quite honestly, it’s often.

Very often.

But I want to stop living that way.

I want to get in the habit of embracing the struggles. Of choosing to see the end result instead of simply wailing about the current mess, while somehow managing to delight in the lovely moments of now instead of being lost in an eternal chasing of the future.

So there it is…a sort of brain dump of what I’ve been processing lately. It’s by no means an exhaustive essay, but I hope it gets some wheels turning in your head and pushes you deeper into Scripture and prayer like its doing for me.

Stay the course!

❀ Laurel

Photo by Jonathan Ouimet on Unsplash

8 thoughts on “Comfortable or Complete?

  1. Okay, this is EXACTLY what I’ve been learning, even just this week specifically. πŸ˜‚ Life has been so, so full of pain and mess, and I’ve just been gasping for breath, but the other day I realized that God is answering many of my prayers in this. Prayers like “empty me of myself,” “teach me to pray,” “help my unbelief,” “help me know You as You ARE,” etc. Prayers I’ve been praying for over a year, and now, I’m despairing about how hard life is?

    I KNOW the principle of “If you ask God to teach you something, you’d better hold on to your hat,” but even so, I haven’t been seeing the hardness of life in that way!

    So then, I thanked God for sending me hurricanes and not just gentle dew, because they force me to seek Him in a way nothing else would. They are in fact a GIFT, because He is using them to bring me to the end of myself, ending up only closer to Him.

    It’s so good, and I love that this post just confirmed it.

    (It’s still so hard, though, and that’s where I’m currently stuck: trying to figure out how to embrace the trials rather than just suck it up and walk numbly through.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, YES!! All of that…man, it’s so true.✨ I’m sorry life has been hurting lately…and yet I’m not, and it sounds like you know what I mean!πŸ˜…Thank you so much for sharing, Emma. I’m praying that God gives you the endurance and character that He wants to give through all of this, and that you find joy and peace in Him through it all! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YES, I know exactly what you mean! πŸ˜„ I’ve been thinking along those lines a lot in considering how to respond to others whose lives are hurting. I’m sad that they’re hurting, yet at the same time, I don’t want to say I wish they weren’t, because it’s through all that stuff that God brings us to Him. So yes. I can’t honestly say I wish it away, for myself or others, even though I do sort of. πŸ˜‚

        Thank you so much, Laurel. Joy and peace are the main fruits of the Spirit that I can never seem to live in, and I would love to learn how.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is such a good reminder! I have been working through similar thoughts lately, but this helped me think through it better. I love hearing your thoughts! Thanks for sharing, Laurel! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is beautiful, Laurel! I love your thoughts on this verse … It’s so true! We are so refined by our trials, not because of our own merits or good approaches, but because of the strength God gives us to walk through it worthily! Thanks for sharing, this was so good to read!


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