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…
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…
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.
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!
Photo by Jonathan Ouimet on Unsplash