I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing. The medical diagnosis was shocking. Something I was not prepared for emotionally. I’d just been sucker punched. I could look back on the last few years and see how the symptoms fit what had been happening in my life. That didn’t mean it made sense for me today though. Beyond confusion though, I was angry. At God.
How could you do this to me God? I thought you loved me? Where is the love today – did you forget it at home?
I know I am not alone in this feeling. You’ve been there too. We all have. It might be a medical situation, like it was for me. Maybe it’s the death of your child. A divorce. The overwhelming darkness we see on the evening news every day. Unemployment.
This is a big moment in our faith. When things get serious, and we have to decide what we really believe, because what we know and what we see don’t reconcile.
What we see is…well, it’s a disaster. Life is ripping apart at the seams and we just don’t know how to make sense of it. Hope is a distant memory, and things just gets worse when we try to reconcile our reality with what we see in the Bible. James 1:2-4 is a perfect example.
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.
Yes, JOY is exactly how I want to consider my trials. Sheer and utter joy. A trip to Disneyland without lines. And yet, that’s what it sounds like the Bible is telling us to do. What God expects from us, when He’s the one who sucker punched us in the first place. But maybe there is more going on than we realize in the moment.
God has the long term view of who we are becoming in the pain we are experiencing. He sees the end from the beginning and rejoices over the maturity we arrive at through the sorrow we go through now. It is from this place of eternity that God calls us to rejoice in trials, and it is the ultimate test of trusting Him. It comes down to a single question:
Do you trust God more than you trust your circumstances?
Answering this question is perhaps the key to writing the story of our life. As we learn to say yes, we are able to walk into a place of greater favor with God. To see life through His eyes, with His perfect vision. Our wounds get healed. We find hope. We discover the courage to move past our pain and into the destiny God has for us. We get unstuck.