My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
But let patience have its perfect work,
that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
As I logged on to my computer to type out what was written in my journal this morning, I was greeted with two images on my login screen. The first was a hammer shaping another red hot piece of iron. The second was this picture…
I love how God sends little reassurances that I am listening to Him and following His call. Now on to what that call is…
On the road, or path, of life we often encounter pot holes and detours, times when life doesn’t go our way. Pot holes, like an untimely bout with the flu when you have a presentation to give the next day, may cause us to stumble with a sin, like anger or bitterness, but they are just a reminder for us to refocus on the path ahead of us. Detours, like having to use your savings to replace the washing machine instead of going on a much needed weekend away with your spouse , are a little more frustrating because they consume time. Time is a very valuable commodity, and often when situations threaten to steal it from us, we react in a sinful manner, like with anger or resentment. Detours often put more distance (time) between us and our desired destination.
Yes, pot holes and detours can be frustrating. I could also write for days about how they shape us and test our faith, but will leave that for another time. Besides these two lesser types of trials, not that they seem that way when you are in them, there is also a whole greater level of trial. As I described in my last post, there is a kind of trial that makes pot holes and detours seem like no problem at all. These are trials you fall into. When a landslide broadsides you and when you finally stop falling, you find yourself helpless, at the bottom of a pit.
When you first are aware of how deep your pit is, it is very difficult to count it all joy that you have fallen into it. It is dark, scary, and lonely. It takes every ounce of the light of faith in you to keep you from being consumed by the darkness that surrounds you. The darkness that beckons you to give up. That lies about how much easier it is to let its midnight depths consume you.
It is miserable in the pit. It is a place understood only by those who have seen its depths. So why does the beginning of James’ letter promise us that the various pits we are rescued from will eventually perfect us in our faith? How can anything good come from such darkness?
Trials test our faith.
Tested faith produces patience.
Patience works in us to complete us.
Completion means we lack nothing.
Trials will come. Their depths will threaten to block out the light of The Son. But our faith can serve as our emergency flare to God, beckoning Him to come rescue us. The Word we have stored in our hearts can serve as the bread that sustains us. And His Spirit can be the blanket of comfort that keeps us from the coldness of what surrounds us.
Thank God for His Son, who gave us the ability to have this emergency kit supplied and ready for use. What an overwhelming and inescapable place the pit would be without Him.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.