October 8, 2009
A Promise from the Pit
James 1:1-2 (NIV) "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance."
Friend To Friend
From the age of ten, our son, Jered, played football with one goal in mind - to be a starting player on a college football team. When he graduated from high school, and was recruited by a wonderful college that offered him an academic and athletic scholarship, we were ecstatic! Go God!
Jered was red-shirted as a freshman and during his sophomore year, became the starting fullback. It was so exciting to see our son's childhood dream become a reality. Although his team had a less than stellar season that year, Jered loved playing and had a great year as he developed physically, learned the complicated play system and took on that "veteran" mindset.
The following summer, Jered was unusually excited about the approaching football season. The college hired several coaches who seemed to have a new plan in mind for the upcoming year. All summer long, Jered faithfully ran, lifted weights, watched his diet and called teammates with the encouragement, "This is our year!" Even the brutal regimen of pre-season practice was taken in stride … until the last play … of the last practice. I will never forget that phone call from our son. "I hurt my knee in practice today. I have to have surgery which means I am out for the whole season." I listened in disbelieving silence that quickly escalated its way to fury. Surely, I had heard him wrong. This couldn't be happening because God wouldn't let it happen - would He? Not to Jered. He had worked so hard. He had been so faithful. Why Jered? Why this? Why now? It's one thing for me to "face trials of many kinds" but it is a totally different matter altogether for my son to face them.
Jered is every mother's dream - sweet natured, gentle, hard working - a rare young man of integrity who loves and serves God. How could this "pit experience" possibly be the best plan for his life? God clearly answered that question as we sat in the stands, week after week, watching Jered pace the sidelines on crutches while cheering his team on. He didn't miss a single rehab session, team practice or team meeting. I never heard him complain or question. Coaches, doctors, trainers, teammates and parents witnessed a living illustration of the truth that the "testing of your faith develops perseverance". Jered's faith was indeed tested and he passed with flying colors! Jered returned the next year as starting fullback and his team finished the season as the undefeated conference champions. I love it when a plan really does come together!
Are you sitting at the bottom of a pit? Do you feel as if God has not only deserted you but "set you up" for a season of pain and failure? Is your heart filled with anger? Are you discouraged? Celebrate, my friend! God is fully aware of your circumstances and will use it all for your good and His glory!
Father, forgive me for my complaining and questioning spirit in this pit. Help me to see Your hand at work in every trial and celebrate all You are doing in my life through that difficult circumstance. I choose joy! I choose to believe You and trust You in the darkness as well as in the light. Thank You for the gift of testing and the reward of perseverance.
In Jesus' name,
Now It's Your Turn
- Think back to a "pit" experience and remember your initial response. Evaluate that response in light of the truth that since trials develop perseverance, we can face each one with joy.
- During that difficult time, did you question God? In what way(s)? Be specific.
- Looking back, would you say that the trial strengthened your faith in God or lessened it? Explain your answer.
- Pinpoint one truth gained from your "pit" experience. Make a list of specific ways you can apply that truth to your daily walk.
- In regard to this "pit" experience, answer the questions, "Why me? Why now? Why this?"
- Read and memorize Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
More From The Girlfriends
I hate pits! I know God uses them for my good and that the struggle through each one strengthens my faith. But that does not mean my feelings match my faith. In fact, feelings have nothing to do with faith but we often confuse the two. Faith is a deliberate choice, an agreement between you and God about His truth. Your feelings may or may not match that choice. It doesn't matter. God understands that our frail humanity includes fickle feelings that can rarely be trusted. Instead, trust God. Trust His Word!
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Originally published Thursday, 08 October 2009.