My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
God is perfecting my faith through opportunities that come with challenges. I used to think that was strange until I realise that challenges are often the best way to learn things. I found that when I got something easily I often forgot all the lessons shortly thereafter or it took a challenge to remember and actively live out the lesson. However, when the lesson was learnt in the midst of a challenge it remained front and centre and that made me a better person at the end of things.
Now, my responses to these challenges define the level and strength of my trust in God and His capacity to perfect those things that concern me. The things that concern Him about me are the things He has in His heart for me; the things He created me to do from before the foundations of the earth; His hopes and dreams for me. It is one thing to say that I trust Him but the truth of this trust is shown to me by my responses to His instructions.
In the beginning it was so hard; hard to understand that the challenges around me would really produce good in me; hard to understand how the pain could be helpful; hard to understand because I had these preconceived ideas what it meant to trust God and how He should work for me to prove His love. It was as if a part of me was being cut out without anaesthesia and if I was honest with myself, that part needed to go but it was all I knew.
I had to understand that I needed to persevere and move through the process with faith and grace, to be strong and courageous. This process must be anticipated and enjoyed because it would become part of my life for life. Let me explain. Each day is spent in close communication with God and is full of instructions and insights that I must live out. this means that each day has the capacity to be challenging if I try to bargain with and beg God to give me the breakthrough the way I want it.
I realised that I need to keep going, learn to hear His voice, trust the instruction and be faithful no matter what. I learnt that the breakthroughs wouldn’t come before my faith in Him was at the right place. I also found that that outcome was according to His plan and purpose and not my preconceived ideas. This is where it all became real. For so long I had this list of things I did to get His attention and blessing and even though many of these things were good, they soon became routine and removed the element of actively seeking God and relating with Him.
I found that my real intention was the things He would give me for keeping the rules and living right. I came to understand that I wouldn’t get very far if I didn’t find another way. So I asked for His help to shift my focus from His works to His heart and mind. I asked that my greater desire would be to know His mind about me and walk in it with confidence no matter what. Here is where school began.
I had to understand that I could never ever expect Him to work identically or give the same instruction and the only way to get here was to learn to fully #Trust God.
- To Trust God is to rest totally in Him as He is our shelter and reliable help.
- To trust God is to focus on His word and live it out no matter what.
This was the most interesting part to learn. You see, I had always thought I trusted Him but as we walked this new path, I realised my trust was in His hand. He was good as long as HE gave me certain things or when things worked in my favour but when things didn’t workout as expected I would get flustered and worked up.
- Could it be that this process was indeed the path to trust?
- Could it be that if I just laid hold of the truth of God’s love and presence it would be well?
- Could it be that trust was found in the process and on the other side of the process?
- Could it be that there was a way I needed to think and thought patterns I needed to let go of?
So I begun the pursuit of understanding, looking for examples of people who lived their lives through challenges and found depth in God.