James 1: 2-4 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.
Today’s FMF writing prompt is Trial
My husband has recently been pointing out the various legal terms throughout the Bible. And it’s true, in essence the entire message of the Bible starts with man’s “crime” against God, Sin so to speak. And then the giving of the Law which demonstrates that no human can keep it’s requirements. And then Christ arrives on the scene, pay’s the penalty and sets His people free from the demands of the Law. Not nullifying the law but instead satisfying its requirements so that we who put our trust in Him can be guiltless before the judge, who is God, the very one who entered into our messy situation and solved the problem for with sacrificial love. And throughout the Bible there are stories of legal infractions that point to this story over and over again.
And then their is mention of trials, which is another legal term used in a different way perhaps but still if we see God as judge, and we face a trial, can we view that as a test to us?. Not a test of our innocenceor guilt, but a test of our faith. God is judging the strength of our faith, not to condemn us but to strengthen and grow that faith in us.
We often find our trials come in patterns. Maybe this is God's way to patiently help us learn and get out of debilitating life loops. One of the things I often hear in my practice is "why does this always happen to me? Why do I find myself here again? And my answer is often, "maybe there are lessons that need to be learned here so that you may break out of this cycle" Maybe there is some past trauma or unresolved issue or event that hasn't been attended too that needs to be addressed and healed. Let's try to figure out what this life loop might be trying to teach us.
Sometimes tragic things happen that are out of our control, they don’t happen to us because we caused it or deserve or even because we are stuck in a pattern but they can certainly put our faith on trial. Will we trust that God is good no matter what, even if we can’t see it? Will we hold on to the fact that He is there for us, even if it seems that He may be against us? I believe that if we can transcend the pain of the trial itself and view it in a new light- belief that God is not punishing us or abandoning us but is instead strengthening us, we grow. And strengthing us is often helping us surrender to His strength. His desire is for us to trust Him more and more and not lean on our own understanding, as a child to a beloved trusted parent. The simple irony is that He matures us by making us more childlike in position to Him. He strengthens us by helping us recognize our weakness and dependency. Trusting in this process doesn’t mean we will have all the answers. It simply means we are exercising our faith when we face the difficulties of life and admitting that we don't have all the answers but that we solidly put our faith in the one who does.
Now the above passage from James is not to paint a shiny pollyanna veneer on pain. I think it is meant to give the pain that comes from trials meaning and purpose, so that when we face trials and difficulties and even tragedies we can hold tight to the belief that all is not lost, that something good can be brought out from what we are experiencing and we may not see it immediately and we may not see it in our own lifetime. But faith holds that it is there regardless. That is the aim of what I do everyday in my practice. I sit with people in their pain, we don't deny it. We don't minimize it. We don't try to find all the answers, But with time, together, we look for ways to transcend it.
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