One of my children has been going through a real challenging time lately. But that's his story, and not my own, so I am learning to not share details. Yet I am keenly aware, as I relinquish the story of his life to him, that these early chapters are producing in him faith, endurance, and maturity.
Consider it pure joy, my brethren,
when you encounter various trials,
For you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
And may perseverance have it's perfect result,
That you may be perfect and complete,
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial
Because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life
That the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:2-4, & 12
It's taken me 30 years of grappling to learn this lesson, but already I see The Refiner producing beautiful things in my boy's life with fire.
It is true, God uses the hard to turn our hearts to Him. The trials, tests and the tribulation are lovingly balanced in the same Holy hand that generously disperses blessings and unmerited grace. It is from the hand of a loving God, a kind and caring Father, that anointed trials come to us. Not by accident.
I had the immeasurable pleasure of speaking to a dynamic Women's group yesterday, sharing much of my own journey to understanding these truths... that God is kind, sovereign, purposeful and good, even in the darkest of trials. Today, as I honor my son by keeping his own journey private, I recognize that God is kind, and sovereign, and purposeful, and good, even in the darkest of my boy's trials as well. How marvelous. How wonderful. How confident I can be in the plans that God has for him!
"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord,
"Plans to prosper you, not to harm you,
Plans to give you hope and a future."
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally
finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6
I've heard other mothers of young children say, "I pray that God will spare my children suffering. I want them to have very boring testimonies." Personally, I don't pray that anymore. Suffering is the way to the cross. Suffering and trials are the refining tools of maturity. And I want that (maturity) for us all!
Hearts that cling to Him, are cultivated in lives that are painfully aware of how desperately we need Him. Theologically, we all can agree we need Him for salvation, but the life that clings, that passionately holds on and abides with tenacity, is developed via "various trials". Yes, the life that tucks in and stays close to the Light... has come fleeing the darkest of nights.
I don't know how the "tone" of this post is transmitting, though I hope you sense my faith, trust, and even joy. I trust God with my sons.
For (you) are His workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand
so that (you will) walk in them.
I am honored God gave all three of my sons to me, to nurture and admonish, ever pointing us all to Jesus along the way. As for my story, I've had to trust God more than ever before, and that's produced in me perseverance. Amazing to me, the same author is telling a similar story in the lives of my sons.