Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Joy in Suffering…What about Blessing?

We know the verse. James 1:2. Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Many people post similar things on Facebook or the many blogs out there. God works through our weakness. We should take comfort in the fact that God is working to make us better in our trials. I’ve even heard some go so far as to say that if we’re not experiencing trials, we must not be impacting the kingdom of God at a level where the devil is concerned about attacking us. Frightening. On a number of levels, that one.

I’m writing this out with 9 fingers. I slammed my right index finger in the car door a couple of weeks ago. (The same evening we said goodbye to our friends the Turners. I hold them somewhat responsible even though they weren’t there.) It hurt. Really bad. Turns out I broke the tip of the bone…which sounds ominous but really means nothing except that it still hurts. They don’t put you in a cast for a broken finger tip bone, apparently. The 9 finger thing tells you how heavily this subject is weighing on my heart right now. And it’s one of those blog posts that I know how it begins, but I don’t yet know how it ends. Let’s find out together, shall we?

We’ve been in the beautiful state of Colorado for 8 months now, and we’ve been in our own home for 3. We’ve been done with our major projects on our home for about 6 weeks. Life is really just now returning to normal. And it’s good. It’s so good. The weather here is ridiculously amazing. We have an amazing deck, and a porch swing (where I sit as I type this). Our kids are all healthy and happy. James and I both have jobs we love (most of the time). We’re working on paying off student loans, but we lack for nothing. Seriously, perhaps my biggest trial right now is my silly finger or maybe my ongoing annoyance with my weight or maybe that I can’t take a bath in my own home and I really like baths. It seems unfair, right?


And I’m grateful. Super grateful. I tell God all the time. I’m grateful for the big and little things. Tonight Nathan cuddled with me before I put him to bed for a good 10 minutes. I soaked up every second, willing myself to burn it into my brain forever. And I posted recently here that these blessings I’ve been given (the people in my life, I mean) aren’t mine and aren’t guaranteed. I have a friend who recently lost her husband. She’s my age with a 4 year old. She seems to get this concept. Granted, I’m not in her inmost thoughts, but from my viewpoint, she’s handling it with such grace. She seems to be allowing herself to feel the sad moments, but I haven’t heard her question God or say anything about it not being fair. This is a lesson God has been teaching me.

But why? Does this mean someone in my life won’t be there as long as I’d hope? And I don’t say that in a pessimistic or morbid way. I really am curious.

I know the trials will come. They always do. We’ve been called to plant a church. That will come with inevitable trials, no doubt. But am I crazy to almost feel like I’m waiting for the shoe to drop? I’m not walking around waiting for lightning to strike. I promise. But, does my lack of trials mean I’m not doing enough for the kingdom? Does it mean I’m not enough of a threat to Satan for him to worry with me? I reject those notions, although the insecure part of me questions it from time to time. I think the more reasonable explanation is that God is giving us a time of peace. For a reason. Because the trials are coming. The planner in me would like to know WHEN they’re coming, but that’s not for me to know.

There have been people in my life through the years that have seemed to have a picture perfect life. They seemed to have it all, and everything seemed to be perfect. Of course it wasn’t. We’re all sinners saved by grace. I cringe at the possibility that someone could think that of me (and even writing that sounds borderline arrogant…please know I don’t mean it that way). There are more imperfections in me than I can count, but I also get how blessed I am. Crazy blessed. I’m so grateful, and I’ll choose to rest in this time – however long it lasts – and keep pursuing my Savior and try to be ready to take joy in my future sufferings. I certainly take joy in the blessings….but then again. That’s the easy part.

P.S. If there are typos in the above, blame it on my injured finger.

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