I’ve got more joy in my life at the moment than I can count on one hand. Joy of the James 1:2-5 variety, that is:
Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Mum and Dad are going home tomorrow.
As if that wasn’t enough to make me feel like crying (it is!), there’s also the fact that Mr H is sick with a cold and an ear ache. Baby T has an infected belly button and a cold, which makes feeding him difficult. And the company that collects the garbage is striking, so now we have a bin full of rubbish and, with 2 and a half kids in nappies, our household waste is fast accumulating.
Honestly, it’s too much.
It’s too much going wrong, too much hardship, all at once to be a coincidence.
Neither is it a coincidence that James 1:5 is the passage Mum quoted to me yesterday when I asked her (semi-rhetorically), how am I going to cope when you leave?
“If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God,” she answered me.
Nor is it a coincidence that James 1:2-5 was the passage on the cards for me to memorise today.*
No, these trials are gifts, straight from the hands of God, sent to test and strengthen my faith. Sent to develop my character. Sent to drive me running, desperately, into the arms of the Father who loves me, again.
Some of you may read that and think it’s really messed up. You might think, why would you want to follow a God who makes you suffer so that you think you need him? Who breaks your legs and then provides the crutches?
But the truth is that I do need God. We all do.
Even when life is going so well, and things are falling into place and I start to think “Look how good this life that I’ve created is!”…even then, I still need God. Even then, he is the one who sustains and prospers me.
But the thing is, if we’re just cruising along, thinking we don’t need God (or, in all likelihood, not even thinking about God at all, really) we are actually in denial of reality. We are living a lie.
So, for God to send us trials is actually a loving, merciful thing to do. Because these trials shake up our false perception of the world and make us see the reality, that we do actually need Him.
It’s in this spirit that I am graciously receiving these trials, and counting them all as joy. Sure, I will probably shed a few tears over the next few days (and I don’t mean the happy kind).
But you can bet I will be clinging to Christ with all my limited strength, and He will be clinging to me with all His limitless strength.
And I will get through the next day and then the next, with a strengthened faith and a steadfast heart.
I am so thankful for a God who loves me enough to give me just what I need, whether trials or blessings.
*I’m currently using Jami Balmet’s “A Heart Prepared” to memorise and meditate on the Bible, particularly during those late night feeds. And the wonderful thing is, she is offering it free to email subscribers at the moment! Get it here: https://youngwifesguide.com/free-scripture-memory-card-ebook-printable-cards/