This week I've started a 16 week study of the book of James. (If your interested in joining me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the e-mail with the studies included. I am doing them along with Shannon Primicerio on line.)
Wednesday afternoon I read James 1:1-8 and the question was to share what verse(s) jumped out at you. These verses (2-5) jumped out at me: "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."
When asked to explain why those verses jumped out at me, I wrote: Because having PURE joy in a trial is completely counter cultural.
Then I heard about the Steven Curtis Chapman's family and the tragic death of their daughter. As I was talking to my brother-in-law about it I said, "I can't even wrap my mind around what I'd feel or how to even begin to process a loss such as that."
Then I was reminded of "Consider it pure joy...whenever you face trials." Wow...how does one do that? Only through God's grace, love, and having an eternal perspective, knowing that God is the same Tuesday, Wednesday afternoon, and today. He is unchanging.
I am not suggesting how the Chapman's are to walk through a season such as this, I just know that my deep desire is to face any trial the Lord sends my way with full assurance that He is in control and although I may be deeply disappointed, sad, unbearable grief filled, I will know He is the same and loves me just the same.