Life is a Journey

When life’s journey involves a scorching desert or thorny briar, it is not human to celebrate the trial. It is not natural to be pleased with pain – that’s a psychological disorder, actually. Yet James begins and ends with an exhortation to endure with joy and patience when facing trials of many kinds (James 1:3-4 and 5:11). Why? Trials test faith producing endurance, steadfastness, and perseverance. Those lead to maturity, completeness, humility, a crown of life. 

The original Greek words for this perseverance goes beyond surviving pathetically, whining until being scooped out of the briar patch unscathed. “Hypmeno” in both noun and verb form implies bearing trials, having fortitude, enduring patiently, suffering, abiding. The “meno” part, abiding, elicits the idea of staying, dwelling, resting. In my mind, this would occur in pleasant places, in tranquil alcoves with a brook peacefully trickling by – not the concept of remaining under trial! Not through a test of faith! Yet the endurance is a result of faithfully facing trials. Interestingly, the Greek word for testing, “Dokimion,” implies trustworthiness. A testing of metal or a gem ensures its authenticity and quality. A testing of one’s faith reveals its trustworthiness. 

Through adversity, a trustworthiness of faith abides. 

My life’s journey has included sanctuaries of tranquility where God’s words, planted in my heart, produced the character of Christ. Running in my lane, where God has called me, has also led me through a dust storm so intense that the light seemed blocked out, so thick that if, given over to my flesh, my faith could have suffocated. Yet God’s word was a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).  

With scripture as my “forward and rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12), my faith grows with a testimony of God’s trustworthiness through any terrain – peaceful or scorchingly barren. Caring for my mother-in-law through her battle with colon cancer involved a maturing of faith, humility, and surrender.

This season involved faith with works. Works of service, of driving to doctor’s appointments, of changing colostomy bags, of being faithfully present. Faith to pray for healing, knowing that God’s healing might not look like I so desired. Faith that God’s ways were better than my desires. Faith that – though I never received a word that it would happen this way – that God could remove the protruding mass and restore Momma’s physical strength. Faith to pray for physical healing – though the peace remained in knowing that spiritual, eternal healing triumphs over the finite, physical restoration. Faith that, though not caused by Him, God would and will use this horrific disease for His good and His glory. Faith to release her from the physical fight. Faith in clinging to the hope of eternal life in Christ. 

This season involved humility. Humility in asking for help. Humility in receiving meals rather than delivering them. Humility in shampooing carpets. Humility, praying in the Spirit when I didn’t know what to pray or how to pray. Humility in asking my children’s and husband’s forgiveness after outbursts of anger in response to an accusation. 

This season involved surrender. Surrender of anger, of unforgiveness. Surrender of control. Surrender of pride knowing that there was absolutely nothing I could do to will the mass to shrink – no amount of sleepless nights; no amount of money; no amount of prayer. Surrender to eternal healing rather than extended temporal time here. 

Walking through this sand-blasting season tested my faith, tested my tongue, tested my willingness to surrender my will to God’s sovereign will. With my belief anchored in the wisdom and love and truth of God, time and again, His word, hidden in my heart, reminded me of His steadfast love and goodness. Some days, my flesh would rather have remained immature without enduring loss; yet, in the same way that a child who doesn’t grow and mature is not healthy, a believer who doesn’t grow and mature through trials is not spiritually healthy, either. The Word hidden in my heart in seasons of tranquility sustains and guides my journey. Let us make the most of every opportunity to walk in the light, in truth, in wisdom, in joy as we endure trials of many kinds. Let us give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His love endures forever. (Psalm 136)

We want to thank Mary Coleman for sharing this post.

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