James 1:2-4 ~ Suffering and strength for perseverance!

James 1:2-4 talks about, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers {or sisters}, whenever you face trials of many kinds...
James 1:2-4 talks about, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers {or sisters}, whenever you face trials of many kinds…

James 1:2-4 says, “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.”

My son and I were having a deep conversation, one in which I seem to remember verbatim while running over and over every word along with every awkward moment, pause and emotion that was exhibited through numerous heart palpitations and overt body language.  It was uncomfortable!

Have you ever had a conversation where it was so piercing and deep, that even with prior experience as a chaplain and continuing education and wisdom, you could not answer or offer up any condolence?  I mean, here I am, just completing my B.S. in Religion while simultaneously working towards my Master’s of Divinity, so obviously I must have some theological knowledge stored somewhere, right; but here I was tongue-tied and speechless with raw emotion and bursting passion.

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If you know me, you know I’m not a woman of few words.  I’m that socialite butterfly with a Motormouth who loves people and will strike up a longstanding conversation whether you are prepared or not; and whether I know you or not, having an encounter with me will probably leave you with knowing and divulging more information than you were prepared to embrace!  One thing is generally certain, I will leave you smiling!  That is my gift from God and I’m proud of it!

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But here is my son; a man with a tender heart full of love and hurt; filled with more painful experiences and great loss than a dozen individuals put together might experience throughout their lives who was associating the life following Christ with extreme pain and suffering.  He was even discounting his powerful baptism by just continuing life believing in God (at the most, with rare appearances at church due to his love for his mother only) and that was it.  In his mindset, he correlates all the suffering that occurred to when his mother began walking intimately with the Lord, compared to the people who did not believe in Jesus Christ and their lives seemed unscathed and full of worldly blessings.  Between divorce, disease, death, loss of career and home, familial strongholds, it seemed following Christ brought on more problems than what he considered worthy!

I tried to explain that the Bible talks at length about suffering; even how James 1:2-4 says to “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”; and that I agreed, the trials have been exhaustive; my life testifies to what Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”

You know, a lot of us are suffering in many different ways and we are walking by faith and definitely not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7); but please, let’s come together and share our testimonies of survival and strength while supporting those who are hurting so we can tap into the power of God that has been laying dormant for so long.  Sharing and transparency is powerful medicine!  I love my testimony and am extremely proud when God uses me to glorify Him in His strength and deliverance!  Life is hard at times and we need others to walk alongside of us while we’re struggling to help carry the load of pain!  It’s too heavy to go at it alone!

            DSC01014I am happy to say that my son and I left the conversation wide open with him pondering the statement that he initiated:  “Only weak people go to church and depend on God”; because that’s when my testimony downloaded with love by saying, “Do you think your mom is weak?” to which he replied, “No, you’re the strongest and strangest person in the world.”  Amen!  I rest my case!  When I am weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

            Let us not forget during our seasons of suffering to call upon and reach out to the Lord and others while remembering what James 1:2-4 talks about, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers {or sisters}, 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.”  Hallelujah, 52 years later and I finally grew up!

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