For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What Is a Gift?

James 1:2-4 The Message Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

I was raised to think of hardship as a bad thing, or even more, as a punishment from a god who had it in for us, who was just waiting for us to cross that line, then he would strike us down. I use that as an example sometimes when talking to my kids on the importance of knowledge of Scripture. Pure Scripture, not just someone's interpretation of Scripture.

As we enter into possibly another trial, this one centered around Babycakes and whatever it is that is causing his delays and possibly even seizures, I have been comforted by these verses. I was led to them yesterday in my study on Joseph in Abounding Hope. I've been trying to read them in different translations. They all come out saying what it basically says here in The Message. God does not give us these things because he is out to knock us around for our sins. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. As a recent convert to true & living faith (I attended church my whole life) I find all these truths of Scripture to be a beacon to lead me to trust in God. Between His Word and His Spirit I have been able to realize that God really does love His children. That just because this is happening again (and I can say again coz all my kids have had something) it is not because of some vendetta God has against me. He doesn't hate me and have a terrible plan for my life. Unless that's what He had for Joseph.

These verses are major "stop whining" verses. It's hard to complain when you read that these trials are to help show your "true colors." I've been thinking about that a lot. What are my true colors? How strong is my faith, really? I know it's been getting stronger, but I still seem to trip over the simplest things.

And, of course, I want out of this. I don't want this. In fact, when we go to the specialist I think I will tell him or her, "I don't want you to find anything wrong with my "baby." I want you to tell me he's perfectly normal and I am over-reacting." :) But we are not to try to get out of anything prematurely. We are to allow these trials to work in us so we become mature and well-developed. As I read through Scripture this certainly seems to be a big theme: You can't gain maturity without trials. The bigger the trials, the more mature you become.

These things cause us to change. I know, my life has been one trial after another. Becoming a Christian hasn't changed that at all. But since coming to Christ I can see that the trials really do what these verses say. It's really been amazing. I can't see why it just isn't more popular. ;) Seriously, though, when you face trials with Christ, you don't have to be a complainer or a hater. You also don't have to be a stoic or a, well, whatever that type of person is that says, "que sera' sera'." With Christ you know that each of these trials holds a purpose and though you don't really want them, especially when they affect your children (come on, God, can't it just be something with me? why my little kids? please?), you can know that through it all something beautiful will come from it.

I don't know what's going on with BC. I don't know what the medical outcome will be. I don't know what any of this will mean for the long term, but I know that God has given it to me because He loves me enough to want me to grow in Him and closer to Him. And because He wants me to be His witness in this world. Who knows how many people I will meet as a result of this trial? How many of them might never have heard the Gospel? How many of them might be as miserable as I was before God saved me?

There is a reason for everything. God is working to bring all things together for the good of those who love Him. And I pray that through all this I will be faithful, like Joseph, and that I will bring Him glory and honor.


  1. So many common threads with my own life ... I grew up afraid of God, thinking He probably enjoyed making things hard for me because I was so terribly bad.

    Things still come to me the hard way, it seems ... but like you, I'm seeing God's LOVING Hand in every situation, even when our cars break down over and over ($$$$) .. ;)

    And I'm also really trying to dwell more on the positive than the negative. I am blessed beyond what I deserve - and everything else is just a bonus. The grace of God.


    1. Conny, Yeah, when we look for the good things not just dwell on what's wrong, it really helps. It's pretty human to to the latter, so I suppose if we do the former we really aren't conformed to the world. :D Praying things work out for your cars (will have to stop by later and read any updates) and that you find a home for your dog. Sara

  2. Hi Sara, I hope BC is okay!? Praying for you and him. Thanks for sharing about your trials and your trusting God in them. He does love you. So very much. And I think it's easy when we're in the trial to inadvertently feel like He doesn't love us. But it's His love that pulls us through it all. On another note, I think I might sign-up for the summer session of Hello Mornings. I need to get back into the routine of waking early. I hope to see you more in the twitter stream!! Love you friend!

    1. Jacqui, thanks. The registration starts on the 26th. Would love to have you in our group again. :)