There once was a time when I had to wait for the results of a blood test that I had done. I was ordered by my doctor to give blood in order to have it examined. The testing would show whether or not I had, what would be, a very life-changing disease. It was also possible that I could have had more than one disease.
It was a long wait. I cannot even remember how long the wait was, but I do remember thinking that it was taking a long time to hear back from the doctor. I called his office somewhere along the way and requested that he would release my results. The wait then began again!
I received the phone call and the lump in my throat was at its peak. When I heard that my test results showed no signs of the disease that would have changed my life, I was relieved. Very relieved.
That waiting game with blood testing is just one example. There has been several other things within my life that have not been as relieving as I reached the end of the wait. Things did not go as I had expected. The results were life-changing, and the waiting in between the onset and the end only brought on new challenges.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1:2-8 (NKJV)
In between, the waiting process is a test of faith. This faith has certainly developed over time, and the trials are always coming and going. I wish that I could say that these times are easily filled with the patience that He desires for me to have, but that would be a lie. I do trust in His grace and plans for me throughout these times of waiting, and the lengths of time I have endured have been closed behind the door of His great love. I hold onto those truths as I keep enduring the inevitable hardships. Results that I could not see further down the road have brought many wonderous things and great joy at the end of my waiting. The part of James I have quoted above has been written within my memory for the past several years. It is a reminder of His glory within my times of tribulation, and it serves as a truth within my journey through this life. Letting “patience have its perfect work,” and “asking in faith” for His “wisdom,” with “no doubting” is how one can achieve not buckling within the trials. As is goes, “…he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”
Although I do hold onto the past proof of His love for me through the trials that have brought a deeper faith, I still battle the flesh. My anxieties, uncertainties, and doubts have definitely flooded the time as I have waited. Honestly, within some of the trials have I not only been tossed by the sea and winds, I have also been blown out into the open waters of the seas of hopelessness. I think any honest Christ follower will admit that we all miss that little mark at times within our individual walk? I have been thinking so much about the in-betweens of the various trials that we all face, and the conditioning that it enables within us. Is the trial not exactly as the verse says: “lacking nothing?”
Lacking, “nothing.” Perhaps my perception of this is in error in the eye of the great theologian, but may it be known that this little part of the verse is so important to me. I lack NOTHING within Him! I cannot see how the trials will condition me and push me closer to my Lord, but the end is always the same: a greater, deeper and more passionate faith. A more passionate love for the Lord of the universe. The knowing of my little trial in the big picture being part of a greater good. HIS good. He is the Alpha and Omega, and I am not. His plans are not like our own, and His ways are nothing like we see them or anticipate them to be. That is faith. That is the relationship I am growing in within His grace.
God continuously shows me that His ways are much greater than mine. My wife read a text that our son had sent to her last night. He is determined to change some ways that have been causing everyone a great amount of grief. Although his mother and I have known that his own trials have been causing us our own share of grief, it took a while for him to see it. His mother and I have just endured with patience and kindness, her more so than I, as we waited on the Lord to condition the life of our son. Waiting, as the Lord worked within our son’s free-will, bringing him back in from his own sea of hopelessness.
Our Lord takes care of His children. His enduring love and patience is written throughout Scripture. It is through the faith in Him that brings us into, and out of the trials that always have a way of molding us into His image. It is when we continue to have faith and trust in His ways that the in-betweens are comforted by His great love for us.