Read His Words Before Ours!
￼I distinctly remember standing in the pantry searching for an after-school snack. I absent-mindedly looked at my options and stood there for quite sometime trying to decide what would satisfy. In hindsight, I can see that the indecisiveness probably stemmed largely from the fact that I sought something to soothe my wounded heart more than something to fill my snack desire. I don’t remember what age I was but guess I was in late elementary school or early junior high. I lack the details now of what had caused the heart wound, but I do know it was fresh enough that I had not yet decided how to respond to the pain.
As I stood there in indecision, I clearly remember these words coming to mind: “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (James 1:2-3)
In that moment I decided to choose joy, to look at my current situation and invite the Lord into it. The hurt did not go away, but joy and hope bloomed alongside it filling that void in a way that no fruit snack or granola bar ever could have. I remember leaving the kitchen knowing I’d just made a choice that pleased the Lord. Little did I know how foundational this decision would be throughout my life.
A short while later, still pondering this encounter, I told a friend from church about it. Her response both shocked and surprised me. “That is not a trial,” she said with a finality that ended the conversation. I knew she was right as calling it a trial may have been a stretch in the grand scheme of things, but at the same time, I knew her response was horribly wrong.
Yes, most trials are categorically more horrific than my Jr. High experience.
Abuse, natural disasters, persecution, heavy responsibilities, and health problems are all items that come to mind as trials. Scripture promises we will have trials and suffering. My friend had wisdom in her young age to remind me of the power of perspective and the need to be aware of my word choice as others may not view my situation as a trial at all.
However, I also knew that my pantry encounter with the Lord
was not one to be dismissed.
While not necessarily a trial, the wound proved to be the perfect platform for the glory of the Lord to be both displayed and rooted in my life. I walked away from that moment in the pantry with an understanding of the Lord’s response to a heart surrendered to Him regardless of the cost.
A heart that chose to believe Him at His Word.
I had made the decision to let Him take the pain of my current scenario and use it for His glory, a lesson that prepared me for much harsher circumstances to come. My friend may have closed the conversation between us with a somewhat brunt statement, but the Lord has kept the conversation alive between Him and me in the years since, though quite often I discovered this by reflecting on those hard choices to trust Him in the dark.
Lord, am I really failing they way they keep saying that I am? My future resides on passing this year. I keep trying my hardest and I keep praying for You to come.
Are you enjoying our times together as you read My Word? I specifically chose that verse to come to life for you today to help you. Yes, your love for Me and My Word will be multiplied by the end of this season.
Lord, that person just mocked me for believing You are the only way to heaven. What am I supposed to do with that?
Did you see the way they watched you to see your reaction? Did you catch the surprise in their eyes that you did not lash out in anger? Another seed planted.
Lord, my coworker just yelled at me in front of the office for something I did not do. I wanted to correct them in front of everyone just to prove my point.
What if you are the first person to show them My love for them? What if you are the last?
Jesus has taken the short conversation with a young girl and transformed it into a lifelong invitation to know Him. Intimately. Deeply.
Suffering, by its very nature, seems to be something to avoid and despise.
While I have never reached the point of loving suffering, especially while in the midst of it, I have come to love more deeply the One who leads me through the pain, the One who redeems it.
Each time I embrace the suffering, He makes me more like Him.
Sweet sufferings for Your glory, Jesus.
Behold, Daughter, nothing given to Me will be in vain. I redeem all things!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!