“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.”
It was a simple question asked by my 13-year-old granddaughter, Ellie,“What is the favorite season you have lived in?” that started me thinking about ways God has worked in my life.
It was Christmas week . . . all of our children, grandchildren, their spouses and girlfriends were on hand to share in the celebration of Christ’s coming. My heart was full as I thought about our first great grandchild, due to be born in early spring. As I reflected on my life as daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, friend and counselor, my response surprised even me: “NOW,” I said. “My favorite season of my life has to be NOW.”
Seeing surprise and puzzlement on Ellie’s face I continued, “I am grateful for the many experiences and opportunities I have had in 74 years of living—both the trying and the fulfilling. Through every season God has taught me invaluable life lessons that have changed me and ultimately enriched my life. I say NOW, because I can better appreciate WHY God allowed certain things to befall me—especially the things I would never have asked for:
- That I would go deeper in my faith and
- That I would be equipped to help others as I am able to do today.”
As I spoke to Ellie, the words that flowed so naturally were a revelation to me. It was as if the beauty of how and why God worked in a singular life (that happened to be my own) were poured out, and all I could do was marvel at His goodness. I realized that no matter the season, there was always a two-way exchange that took place when I questioned God about what He was doing or allowing. In that moment I recognized a pattern–a dialogue actually–that took place between my Shepherd and I—especially in the more difficult seasons:
To my “WHY?” that questioned His faithfulness,
came His response in a whisper:
“KATHIE, WILL YOU TRUST ME IN THIS?”
The first time I can recall this dialogue taking place was soon after we moved to England for my husband’s job. We had settled into a house in a village near the Base where my husband worked. Built in the 1850’s, the house was located in the center of the village on the Green and was where our family would call home for the next three years. Initially, our life there was like a dream-come-true, as our neighbors and other villagers we met through our children kindly welcomed us. Early on, we also built relationships with other families we got to know through my husband’s work and a church we attended in another village. It was an almost idyllic season for our family, a blessing from God in a multitude of ways.
Then one day it happened–our almost perfect life fell apart and we were snapped back to reality. I’m guessing the problem was with a neighbor, but I truly am not sure about that. What I do remember distinctly was mulling over the problem in my mind and thinking, “God help!” The house was completely silent as I stood there until I perceived a whisper that spoke to my heart, “Kathie, will you trust Me in this?”
Stunned–never having experienced such a moment–I was pretty sure it was God speaking to me. Inwardly I churned as I thought about how to respond, My first thought was, “Do I dare say, NO to God, because I am not ready to do whatever it is He wants me to do?” I rejected that thought because, even though it would have been an honest response, it seemed somehow “rude” and not a viable option. However, I wasn’t ready to say YES to whatever it was He wanted from me. . . so I decided to say nothing at all!
So do you know what happened? For the next 2 weeks God’s question hung over me like a cloud, at various times asking, “Kathie, will you trust Me in this?” During that time, as I avoided answering God’s question, a portion of Scripture from the first chapter of James also seemed to haunt me with it’s call to, “Consider it PURE JOY whenever you face trials of many kinds . . .” The previous year I had wrestled with that call after I was hospitalized with our yet-to-be-born son. I still remembered the moment the JOY overtook me after discovering God’s goal in trials was to shape and mature the character of the His kids. :
“Let perseverance finish its work so that
you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.”
Looking back, I could see how, after living 2 1/2 months in the hospital (our son having been born 9 weeks premature) I had learned to trust God in that precarious situation. During that time I learned not only to accept God’s Plan but to EMBRACE it as I trusted:
That God allows difficulties
(large and small) into our lives
for our ultimate good AND for His Glory!
It was at that point, that my resolve to ignore God’s question melted and I turned back to Him–fully humbled yet wondrously free–gladly declaring, “YES, Lord, I WILL trust You in this!”
In that moment a soothing peace filled my heart and the turmoil of the previous 2 weeks lifted. I trusted that God would work out whatever the problem was–and I am confident that HE DID– even though I have no memory today of what the problem actually was!
Over the past four decades God has used that question--“Will you trust Me in this?”— to shape and mature me through personal challenges as well as in my efforts to help others. I share this to encourage you–in whatever difficulty you find yourself–to BE BOLD in responding to God’s challenge when facing difficulty with a resounding, “YES, LORD, I WILL TRUST YOU IN THIS!” I promise you; He is worthy of your trust!
All to His Glory!
Thanks for this Kathy. Such a good reminder as we continue to wait on the Lord for answers to questions. A very happy new year to you! Sending with lots of love, Liz
Oh Lix, happy new year to you and yours too! I learned a lot just writing this post as He pulled thing together the way only He can do. May His Presence in your life give you joy each and every day . . .❤️
Thank you Kathy for sharing this with us. I have been struggling with remembering to lean into God and trust him at this time. I say I trust him and his timing, yet it appears the evil one wants to periodically throw me off, by putting worry in my mind. Your words have helped me and I will call upon the Lord when the enemy try’s to get me to doubt my faith. May you have a blessed day, gail
Thanks for sharing, Gail. I find that when I remember–as I’m leaning into Him–to give thanks for His love and mercy, that I’m not alone and His Plan is being worked out in my life. Such humility pleases God so in that moment His peace comes and that inner tension is relieved. Praying for you, Gail . . .❤️