joy+trials+perseverance=faith.

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. James 1:2-4

Within the space of just over 24 hours this week, we found out that my mum was sick and on an antibiotic drip at home, that my husband’s Nan had liver cancer and then that my father in law had a suspected stroke and was in emergency at the hospital.

We heard good news earlier tonight that his Dad is home. My mum is on the mend but slowly. His Nan, well that’s going to be a longer process. We visited her yesterday –  she has not just liver cancer, but also issues with her thyroid, so she is still in shock but thankful for her family rallying around her at this time.

We love our families and try to make them a priority, and especially at times like these we of course want to be supportive and loving as much as possible.

But finding all this out when we did – just at the start of the long weekend – I felt a deep frustration. Resistance was rearing its ugly head again. We had sought to keep the weekend unusually clear to allow AJ to do lots of work on his EP songs (check the pre-releases out here). Why were these things happening? And why now?  He has been compromised for time on his music for most of the last month, and this was meant to be his time! I had to put this aside and trust that God had bigger plans than ours, as we set off for the hospital and visits to Adam’s Nan and my Mum yesterday. It was such a good thing to visit them.

Thankfully, because his Dad was doing so well, Adam was able to spend today on his songs and make some good progress and we’ll head out to see everyone again tomorrow. Praise God!

What a challenge the verse I shared at the start presents. I fully agree that perseverance leads to greater faith. I have witnessed this in other’s lives and believe it to be true in my own life too. But to consider trials a joy is a tough exhortation to live out in practice. Joy was not really how I was considering things yesterday. I felt troubled. We are trying to focus on the positive things which could result from all of this, and, quite remarkably I think, even as we processed the shock of it all, both the sick and the well could smile together yesterday. With Adam’s Nan, we pondered how experiences like this can force us to re-evaluate our priorities. Good things are possible, we believe. But joy now? Really?

I think I will keep wrestling with what James says in this passage. I am encouraged by the promise in verse 4 of maturity in faith and of not lacking anything. Perseverance through trials seems to be par for the course in this life.  This time is a trial in only small ways for me, but my prayers are for the sick and those closer to them – that is where the bigger trials are at and where much perseverance will be called for.

In all of this, I am once again reminded also how thankful I am that I know God because of what Jesus did at Easter so many years ago, that He is in control, He will never leave us and He will one day return. Amen!

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