Today I find my spirits lifted after several days of non-stop miscues, clumsiness, anxiety, stress, nothing going my way, everything that could possibly go wrong did--you know, a "Murphy's Law" kind of streak! By last night, quite frankly, I was hunkering down, almost feeling like I just needed a good cry. I generally took everything in stride until yesterday afternoon - the third solid day of "stuff" not going my way. I was just worn down, frustrated and, truthfully, feeling sorry for myself. None of it was "terrible" stuff! All of it was mainly inconvenient and annoying - not anything earth-shattering or life-changing! My goodness!
In bible study on Monday night, we read in the book of James, "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. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do" (James 1:2-8 NIV).
These verses seem almost counter to what many think life should be like, once we're "saved"! But we all know that wisdom does not come without study; perseverance can never be developed without testing; confidence in God's promises cannot happen without "making it through" difficult situations and "coming out the other side."
There is no magic wand that scatters "fairy dust" of perfection into our lives! If we had everything we wanted, we would never know how satisfied we could truly be. That satisfaction is not with ourselves or our situation. Rather we are satisfied because we know that no matter what situation in which we find ourselves, God is there with and for us.
Yes, trials build character. Trials cause us to become mature and wise in how we conduct our lives, how we view our world and how we think and act. James reminds us that we have absolutely no right whatsoever to expect anything from God! Rather we are blessed to receive the free gift of His love and grace.
Sometimes I don't really feel like I want any more character, thank you! (Though I certainly am in desperate need!) But God doesn't give us what we want just because we want it. Nope. He gives us what we need whether we know we need it or not. Yes, and even whether we feel up to handling whatever life sends our way.
"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock" (Matthew 7:25 NIV).
Blessings on your journey,