This morning, as I was sitting in service I had one of those moments. Calling it a moment is a bit misleading, also, as it was actually more of a revelation that came upon me over a period of 5 or 10 minutes. The only way I can describe it is that God opened my eyes to something that he has been doing in my life for a while now, and I only just saw the pattern. What I saw was breathtaking, but also extremely humbling. I’ll try to explain, although it may not be brief.
This last year has been insane. Melissa and I were appointed to go to Africa, we had a baby, I graduated and started a new job that has really stretched me, and we then began raising support (with no previous experience whatsoever). That having been said, I think it’s gone amazingly well. Phin is amazingly well developed, my job has been amazing, and we’ve navigated raising support without too many surprises.
The stress has come into the picture mainly as a recent development. When we started out, we knew that we were going to have to trust in God for everything to come together, but I don’t think we really knew what that entailed. What I mean is that faith and trust are just fine from a distance, on paper, in the Word. I guess it’s different when you’ve sold everything you own, moved in with your parents, and time is ticking down and yet you have no idea how it will all come together. I’d like to say that we’ve held it together calmly and coolly without twitching an eye, but the truth is that while there are many days that we feel peaceful and determined, on others we feel discouraged and uncertain.
This morning God turned my thoughts to a passage in James 1.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I guess this is a verse that I’ve seen a hundred times, and even thought through carefully. And yet, sometimes scripture comes alive and is different when you are living it and when it summarizes all the excruciating details of experience over months of time.
I believe that our Father has intentionally brought Melissa and I to a place of testing. To get here, we’ve been exposed to thing after thing after thing, until we feel wrung out and punch drunk. And yet, the beautiful thing is that even though we’re in a place where we’re being tested, each time we begin to feel uncertain or discouraged there is someone or something that comes along that would help bring things back into right perspective. We’re learning, but it’s not as if he has just let us go to crash and burn. He’s walking along side us, lending a steady hand when it seems like we’re getting wobbly.
When God turned my mind to the passage this morning (and there were some other details which helped along the way), I felt like everything snapped back into perspective. I know that, whatever happens, God is using this situation to build perseverance in Melissa and I. Why? Because we’re going to need it! So what is my response? JOY! Of course, it is much easier to hold on to joy when you can see what’s happening, rather than when you feel tossed to and fro like waves in the wind.