Trials can come in all shapes and sizes. They can be for a moment or last a lifetime. They can be the result of our own foolishness or what God uses to mature us. They can be endured quietly or lived out for the world to see. We can respond to them with complaint or with rejoicing. But this what the Word of God says,
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet 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.” (James 1:2-4)
This verse floods our souls with hope during times we are crumbling. It answers the “Why, God?” when we are desperate to understand our difficult lot in life. My husband once told me with respect to this Scripture passage, “We have to view trials, not as a single event in our lives, but as part of the whole process that God uses to make us more like Christ.”
As my son, Gabriel, has gotten older, things have become … more complicated. To a certain degree, I have expectations that he should’ve overcome certain challenges by now. Similarly, I have expectations that I should’ve gotten past some challenges of my own. It is often difficult to discern if there is something amiss in his communication or if there is a behavioral issue pointing to the heart problem that needs to be dealt with. Sometimes it’s all tangled up together, so as a parent, it is a challenge to make sense of all this. This is my trial.
I love my son. But, there are times, I struggle to love him. Does that sound harsh? Should a mother have difficulty loving her own child? I have heard that it should be natural to love your children, and mothers have an innate nurturing quality about them. Well, this mother’s nature is selfishness, just to name one of many sins. Because of sin, I struggle to love. But because of Christ, I can love. “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19). There is still a battle waging, but in the end, The Lord enables me to love my son. He is teaching me to love someone who can be difficult to love sometimes. He is teaching me to love the way He loves me.
Lord, I know that one of your purposes for my trial is my sanctification. Help me not to think so highly of myself that I think I don’t need to go through trials. Take me back to the foot of the cross and see how much sorrow you endured for me. Help me to see that this trial is a result of your love for me. Though at the moment it’s sorrowful, in the end, it will yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
(Photo credit: PixelPlacebo)