Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Can You Imagine Telling Your Doctor You Weren't Going to Push Anymore While You Were in Labor?

I never really wanted to give birth to my kids. I had several kidney stones in high school and college, and I was told it was comparable. I was not a fan of the kidney stones…at all. And the idea of having that kind of pain while pushing a baby out of a small hole, did not interest me in the least little bit…that may be TMI, but it is what it is. Can you imagine a woman in the middle of labor saying, Nope, I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s too painful, and I’m sweating. I’m sweating. I don’t look good doing this thing. I quit. This kid can just stay where right where he/she is. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But have you ever been in a difficult or painful situation where you just wanted to quit? The trial or storm was too painful. You didn’t look good struggling in your faith. In the movie A League of Their Own, Gena Davis’s character told Tom Hank’s character that baseball had just gotten too hard to which he responded, It’s the hard that makes it great! If not, everyone would be doing it.

Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds…I am supposed to have joy when? Have you ever been on trial, gone through a trial in life, or had some type of adversity? If you are living, you have. We are supposed to consider it pure joy. I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I go through a trial, my fleshly side comes out and what comes out of my mouth shouldn’t. My daddy has been reminding his Sunday school class how Jesus led his disciples to get into a ship and sail across the Sea of Galilee at night, the most dangerous times for sailing. (Mark 4:35-41) First off, think about that. Jesus led them into what he knew was going to be a storm. Have you ever felt like God led you into the middle of a storm? Yes ma’am I have, and I’ve wondered, Why in the Sam Hill did he lead me here? I didn’t deserve this. This wasn’t my decision or by my choice. I’m following him and doing what he leads me to do, so then why would he lead me into a storm or a trial? And now I’m reading that I should consider it ALL PURE joy when I’m going through that hardship?

James 1:2-4 says, Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Trials and storms can definitely test a person’s faith. When fertility treatment after fertility treatment failed, when adoption plans failed, when my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, when I was concerned with losing my job, when my work office closed, when I’ve struggled with the calling God has put on my life, when I’ve had to endure hardships in key relationships in my life, these trials tested my faith and what I believed in and in whom I believed in. But in every trial or storm, God revealed some aspect of himself that he wanted to reveal to me at that point in time in our relationship. Trust me there were times I said, Could you not have done this another way? I can learn from watching someone else! I will also tell you that it wasn’t always pretty to work out my faith. It wasn’t always fun to persevere. But some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about God and my relationship with him has been during the struggle.

Here’s the key though…Verse 4 says, Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking any good thing. YOU. CANNOT. QUIT. You get knocked down. You get back up. You get knocked down. You get back up. The Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary says, The believer was expected faithfully to endure and to remain steadfast in the face of opposition, attack, and discouragement (definition of “perseverance” pg 1278).

Here’s the thing. You have a choice to make. You can consider it pure joy that God is walking with you through these trials, OR you can sit and pout, sulk and throw temper tantrums and stay depressed. God doesn’t make you be joyful, but unlike the lost, you have a hope in the middle of the trial. You know that God has gone before you and made the curved places straight. You know that God is turning the darkness into light, so you can see your way. You know God will never leave you nor forsake you (Is 42:16). For me, it’s the waiting on his timing…persevere till he moves. Persevere until he shows you the way. Persevere through the muck and the mire. Persevere till you get through the trial, till you get through the storm. PERSEVERE in pure Joy. He’s growing you up in your faith, sweet friends. He’s maturing your relationship with him. The reward is that in the end you will lack nothing in your relationship with him. You just have to persevere. Trust me. It’s worth it. You can do this (Phil 4:13). He’s got you.

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