James 1:2-8 states: “Dear brothers and sisters when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do”
I think to myself after reading this scripture, I seem to really only pray for outcomes that are favourable to me, for things that I want to happen. But is that really how I should be praying? I remember going to church one day and I heard a woman share about how she prayed that she would pass an exam, and how God helped her pass it. Maybe I was being cynical but I thought to myself, was it God who helped you pass that exam or was it the work you had put in to study and prepare?
You see it all the time in church, people say they prayed for a loved one to recover from an illness and when they do it’s a miracle. But my point is, you don’t see anyone standing up and talking about how much they prayed for something and God didn’t come through for them. So, from what I could see, if you get the outcome you desire it was God but if you don’t get what you desire it’s not. Although God tells us that he works everything out for our good right? When I was going through some of the toughest times in my life I would ask God why he was doing it to me, why didn’t he take me out of the situation I was in? I had to realise that God put me there for me to grow, to learn how to battle and fight for my salvation. If the world was all sunshine and rainbows we wouldn’t learn a thing and we would stay stuck in a passive state of mind.
You know, I love what Rocky says to his son in the Rocky movies “Life is not about how hard you can hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward”. I know this is difficult when someone you love is sick or passes away but God really is in it even if it isn’t the outcome you desire. Nobody wants to go through that kind of stuff but through going to that place of extreme hurt and living it with God by your side you come out the other end with so much more faith and endurance. I still find it difficult trusting God to turn everything for my good but I am starting to realise that the more I ask God for his will to be done rather than keeping me away from pain, the more able I am to stand in my faith when his will might be for me to experience emotional pain. Wouldn’t it be great to just say in a prayer “God just do whatever you want in my life and I’ll trust that you are with me in it”. I often imagine God saying back to me, “Son, I know you don’t want this but you need to go through it to get to where I want you to be”.
I just hope that anyone out there who is going through hard times can accept that it will pass and you will be a better person for going through it. Yes it may be easy to jump ship and do whatever you can to escape the pain but I urge you to put your trust in God and go through it with him, thanking him because if you don’t you will need to deal with it later down the line.