Count it all joy my brothers when you face trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Cancer. Car Wreck. Infertility. Heart Attack. Death. Divorce.
Things that bring about suffering. I just assume all the verses in the Bible that mention suffering refer to those things. Yes, those things have happened in my extended family. But not to my immediate family. And since we are guaranteed suffering in this world, I feel like I’m just waiting for my time to come.
Financial suffering? Compared to others, it’s just not one you hear about often. Maybe because it’s super personal and to inform people of the details of your finances can make you vulnerable to judgment and criticism or pity. My point is, I haven’t considered our financial struggles a time of suffering. It’s not cancer, it’s not infertility. Surely God wants us to struggle with something worse than money. With that attitude comes impatience. I have not viewed this season of life as a time of suffering that produces steadfastness. Therefore, I have seen it as a period of time to hurry things along and move on. As if it’s apart from God and He’s waiting for us to get out of the pit so we can move on with His plans.
But I know the He is not only in the middle of the suffering, He’s causing it to happen for our good.
God has been silent. We pray all the day long for Brent’s career to be prosperous according to God’s plan. We pray for wisdom and guidance. We commit everyday to the Lord, asking Him to do things only He can do. And God knows our motive. We have no desire for the worldly things that money can buy. Do we want a bigger house? Eventually. Does Brent need a new car? Yes. Do we want opportunities to go on family vacations? Yes. But more importantly, our desire is to give generously and hopefully adopt in the future.
35. The number of work days it has been since Brent had a good day and didn’t leave his office discouraged. Seems like a while, then I think about Noah, Abraham, and the many others that had to wait years. I don’t really have much room to talk or complain.
Do you ever feel like there is a gap between what you believe God is able to do and what you believe God will do? I believe the promises in the Bible and know personally that they are true. In the long run, I know God will do what He says. I know I will look back on this situation and see nothing but His faithfulness and goodness. But in the day to day discouraging details, it can sometimes be really hard to believe, especially when you devote to prayer without ceasing and God doesn’t act when you think He should.
But what James says is true…this trial is producing steadfastness. No matter what I feel like believing based on the day’s results, I know that I am being made immovable. It’s certainly not enjoyable and easy to go through each month wondering how needs will be met. But, there hasn’t been a need that hasn’t been met and that’s not going to change because God doesn’t change.
I don’t enjoy the suffering. Who does? What I do enjoy is the deeper relationship with God, seeing more of my need for Him, learning more about the character of God, and becoming a person of continuous prayer and, hopefully, a faith that is firmly fixed in place.
Tonight, after Brent returned from work, he and Lily went on a walk down our street…something Lily LOVES to do. While they walked, I watched out the kitchen window and prayed aloud to the God who hears my plea. I was acknowledging that His plans are bigger than I can see. All I have is today. I can’t see tomorrow. And as the word “bigger” came out of my mouth, Lily, who was many houses down, was holding her arms stretched out wide. I’m sure she was simply wondering where something was, but for me, it was a symbol of how big God is and how big His plans are for us. I love the small reminders God gives us.
So, I consider it pure joy while facing this trial, for I know that it is testing my faith and producing steadfastness so that I will lack nothing. And I know that God will not fail me, so what do I have to fear?