Thursday, March 5, 2009

Faith Under Pressure

God put it on my heart to blog today. It was one of those nudges you feel, and yet you feel a little unprepared to follow through. You know, where you feel like you should say something, do something, etc. and yet the words certainly aren't there and you feel completely inadequate to do the job. And yet your compelled to obey.

So I said, okay Lord.

I asked him where to go in scripture and he sent me to James, chapter 1.

Uh, you sure Lord? This is heavy stuff.

Just do it, daughter.


James 1 (The Message)
vs 2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, NOT deficient in any way.

I like the phrase "faith-life". To me it gives a picture of action... living, moving, choices, and the day to day "grind" that life can sometimes be. Our faith-life is lived outloud every day - sometimes we forget, sometimes it's muffled, sometimes it's speaking loudly .... and not always in forms of integrity. Under life's "muck" I think we can often default to a "norm" or to a habit or to what's familiar. When it comes RIGHT down to it, how you respond in moments of crisis and challenges is reflective of your walk with the Lord. That isn't to say that freaking out, having moments of panic, or doubt makes us less of a Christ follower. But if we lock ourselves into a mindset that isn't honoring, a mindset that doesn't allow God to show himself to us - AND to those watching... then we've shown that deep down.. we aren't willing to TRUST in Him.

How often when a situation comes up that makes us uncomfortable; do we wrack our brains and quickly try to come up with a way out, a solution, an answer. How often are we on the phone within minutes, seeking advice, guidance or just a "listening ear"? When was the last time we got blind sited and said, "Ok Lord, this isn't fun... but I'm sure there's an ultimate purpose and I'm sure you are going to work this out for your good - you do promise that to me - and i'm trusting to believe it. I think we PRAY that God removes our circumstances, we PRAY that he delivers us, heals us, fixes us - or those hurting us... when really i think we should be be praying...STRENGTHEN me through this, give me joy through this, USE this, stay close to me through this, give me peace through this, and help me to see "this" for what it is and be hopeful for the time that it's over. Don't you think that would change our prayer lives significantly? Asking God to walk us through the hard times instead of magically plucking us OUT of those hard times.

Verse 4 says, Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, NOT deficient in any way.

WOW. Let the pain mature you, shape you, develop you.... and in turn you will NOT be deficient or lacking in anything. When I listen to people speak about the rough times in their lives, I sit in awe when they go on to say, "and i wouldn't have had it any other way!". There's always a reflection about how if they hadn't been brought thru the trials, they wouldn't be the person they are today - they wouldn't have the faith, the love, the intimacy with God, the trusting and whole hearted abandonment to HIS will.... I love it. And I want what they have... but a little voice in me sometimes whispers, "but i want that without all that pain they went through Lord... just give me the goods without the other stuff". Surely I'm not alone in that. :)

Verse 12 goes along with that, and I'll close soon, I promise.
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

That peace, that reassurance, that JOY.... it's from sticking it out. For being loyally in love with God.. In love through every up and down, no matter WHAT is going on in life. I pray that I can find the strength to ask God to just walk with me through life's next big hurdle... and that I not just beg away that he remove me and hurry up the process. But that my heart would be ready to be molded as circumstances come.


Dependant Warriors said...

Hmmm...there was some pressure this morning...nap time must have gone well for you to get to write.:) Good thoughts to ponder deeply. I had a neat pastor who used to pray...Lord, I do not want to go through this again, please help me get every thing out of this that you have for me. I love that spirit. DW

Katy said...

Great thoughts on those verses. I am curious, what translation are you reading from? I find that so often, the translation can truly shape what I take from a verse.

I just experienced what you referenced this week. A friend, who has battled cancer for the last year+ referred to the last year as glorious, and gave God all the glory for where she is today not only in regards to her health but also her spiritual position. It was so awesome to hear!

Thanks again for taking time to share his word and what he has revealed to you!

just me said...

katy... sory to not get back to you sooner. i was reading out of "The Message" for this particular passage (and most that i write about on here)

I love it's fresh perspective.