We all endure tests of faith. Today we hear about them in scripture.
In Deuteronomy, it strikes a tone of parental discipline, as we hear why the Israelites were made to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. Eating of the manna in the wilderness is spoken of like a curse, becoming a reminder that the Lord would provide and that we “cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
James also speaks of an active and tested faith. Maturity and endurance bring about wisdom.
In both of these passages, we get a sense that the Lord is shaping us and molding us as his people for some purpose. The sufferings that we endure seem to open the spirit to God’s presence, “for the doubter, being double-minded and unstable in every way, must not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
I have certainly been through some trials and tribulations in my life, and I know you all have as well. And it certainly is no comfort to someone in the midst of trauma to be talking about how this will increase their wisdom. In fact it is the absolute WORST way to provide pastoral care for someone. I absolutely hate when people say to one another, in the midst of their nervous energy not knowing what else to say to a person in the midst of trauma, “Well, everything happens for a reason.” Really? There was a reason my child was killed by a moving train? There was a reason my wife’s cancer and pain got so bad she killed herself? Don’t think so. It is a HORRIBLE thing to say. There is no rhyme or reason to some of life’s tragedies. And if you have said this to someone before in the midst of chaos, I want you to promise yourself to evict it from your vocabulary right now. Seriously. Right now. Promise me.
We are all tested in the faith. And realizing that God has led us through the wilderness of our lives is something we discover on our own, miles away from the tragedy itself.
I pray that you discover deeply the meaning of today’s passages for your life, that you come to unlock the mysteries that God is revealing in your life, and where in your life endurance has come to shape your faith.
And if you are in the midst of the storms of life, I pray for peace for you. And as God walks with us through the pain, I hope you will dare to trust me and others to walk with you.