James 1:2-4 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.
Testing of Your Faith?
Sometimes “life” comes along and kicks you square in the balls. There are events you just can’t prepare for. You THINK you are prepared, until the reality of it hits you. Thinking about what is real is not the same as living in the thing that is real. Virtual isn’t the same as real.
I’m talking about the kind of event that goes beyond mere pain. I’m talking about an event that makes you feel your soul was just sucked out through your tear ducts. An event so hard you spend at least one entire day crying until you think you will cry your guts up. Thinking Is barely possible. Forget eating. Pain so real you don’t understand how you can keep existing.
When things get that real, the fight or flight instinct grabs you by the brain and tries to get you to do something stupid.
The magnitude of the pain tests the strength of your faith. This is when you find out whose character you are possessed of.
I know, I know, the verse says YOUR faith. But is it really yours?
with Christ I have been crucified, and live no more do I, and Christ doth live in me; and that which I now live in the flesh — in the faith I live of the Son of God, who did love me and did give himself for me; Galatians 2:20Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
I picked this translation on purpose, because Young shows the reader WHOSE faith it really is. The faith that is “in” is actually faith that is from Jesus. (For Greek fans, it’s genitive ablative – It came from somewhere to somewhere, or someone to someone). If I had to rely on my faith, I would fail this test. If I didn’t need the faith from the Son of God in me, there would be no point in relying on Him who is our strength.
HERE’S THE POINT OF THE TEST
When I try to accomplish something on my own strength, yet insist I am a child of God, I get my strength tested, and I fail over and over. If I say I am a Child of God through Jesus Christ, and I am, He gives me a measure of faith and it will be tested.
The point of the test is to learn to let go of your strength and understand you are too weak to do an act of the Holy Spirit without the aid of the Holy Spirit. When you finally realize it is the power of God sustaining you, and not yourself, your FAITH in Him grows. When your faith Grows, you become more steadfast in your reliance on Him, and in your walk with Him. The inward strength from Him becomes an outward testimony of the power of God. It is then He will allow you to do greater things than you have already done. You have to grow His faith planted in you by realizing it isn’t yours to play with, but His alone. Your strength is meaningless. It is your reliance on His strength in you that builds your faith.
You’re kidding, right? Joy?
No… and neither was James, and neither is Jesus. Here you are, doubled over in wracking and heaving sobs, you can’t think, you cant even breathe, and you just want to die. Where’s the joy in that?
One of the definitions is happiness, true, but another equally applicable definition is “calm reliance/assurance”. You have confidence that He who began a good thing in you will be faithful to complete it. You understand that ALL things work together for the good of those who are called…
…so cry. Shout. Heave and feel the pain. Rest assured that, even though you were blindsided by this, and you just want the earth to swallow you whole, and you cannot see your way through this; This is not a surprise to Him who planed your every step before you were created. This is going to make you stronger, more faithful, more steadfast, and when it is done, you’ll understand why.
I know this because I am going through this right now. It is His hand on my shoulder, His voice reassuring me, that however bad the hurt, however mean the betrayal, however unexpected the trial, He is carrying me. He is my strength.
HANG ON TIGHT
You cannot see the reason behind this mindless pain. You never equated love with such hurt, until you saw that love removed. This is when you can rest in Him. Trust Him, Rely on Him.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5,6
I know it hurts. And if someone were to try to tell me this while I hurt so badly, I’d tell them to go intercourse themselves.
Because I am going through this right now, and I have finally decided to rely on Him, I can tell you with real confidence, He does give you His strength to grow His faith in you. It may feel like the end of the world, and it is the end of the world as you know it. But whatever adventure lay ahead of you, He will guide your path if you trust.
Let’s be about it.
I Love you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ
David G. Perkins