*Today, we are pleased to publish a guest post by another one of our good friends!*
“Natalie! Please! Make it stop, it hurts too much!” my phone read as the screen illuminated, thus throwing shadows against my wall and near my bed. Still awake, my eyes struggled to focus on the text notification in my blackened bedroom. After a few minutes of talking to my friend, I had given the best encouragement I could and was virtually holding her until my body crashed for the night and I had fallen asleep. Never before had I felt heart break over my friend…..“Why her? God, what is your plan with this pain she’s in?” As these questions repeated themselves in my mind, I was hit with one answer…..”Why not?”
After waking up a few hours later and rereading our conversation, I sat there. Pondering on that answer, I thought back over the “Series of Unfortunate Events” that have happened in my life in the past few years. Now, I know that my life is far from perfect and is not free of struggles by any means…from the loss of two grandparents back to back, to my own health struggles, there was always something every year that my family was hit with. And at times, these events made me wonder where I stood in my faith. But I was reminded of James’ letter to the early church. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 NASB)
Joy? I gave Jesus my life in total surrender to Him in order to share the good news of His coming, not to be affected by trials. Joy?
Yes. Joy. You see, when Jesus first gave the Great Commission to the disciples, he also told them that the servant wouldn’t be greater than his master. Therefore, if Jesus was tested and tried during his three year ministry, so would we for our Christian faith. The difference between us and the rest of the world is that we know the trials or “tests” that we find ourselves in are temporary. Therefore, there’s an end to them at some point. But we also need to let God work with us and through us while we are in those trials because they are the only ones that we personally can bear. I think of the Wall of Faith in Hebrews 11: yes, God used those men and women because they were ordinary, but He also used them because of their faith in God and in what He had planned.
…And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Or as my friend and I both know, when “Yes, Lord” means a trial.