Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
I walk the the beach on a cloudy morning, noting the beauty and changes as beach season makes its debut. The sand is combed, less rocks under my feet, and the new lifeguard chairs stand stark awaiting the bustle of Summer days. Morning acknowledges few walking the shoreline, I can walk and talk aloud and look like a crazy person to none but the gulls. For the most part they are too busy to bother themselves with the solo conversationalist infringing on their breakfast buffet. I have a history of seeking Him by the Sea. Not that He won’t meet me anywhere. But here, at the edge of the unknown, water meeting sand, is where we have serious quality time. He presses me with truths, surrounds me with beauty (and tragedy – more on that in a moment), staggers my senses with the work of His hands. The surf tends to be a place God does a reality check with me. He tweaks my perspective. Not that He can’t do it anywhere. But somehow, He and I meet there and I am alive with the mysteries of eternity and wisdom that stretches from the depths of the sea to the expanse of the sky. Just me. And Him. On the sand.
The gull lifts the quahog with his beak and carries it. I pause, watching as he drops it.
He picks it up, flies upward and drops it again, swooping down one more time, he drops the tightly clamped shell a final time. Clam flesh spills as the shell cracks open.
There are days I feel I am
Life slams me into one circumstance after the other and I barely have a chance to recover from one thing before being slammed again. I feel my innards spilling out, all messy leaving me one broken open, squishy, spilled out clam.
The beach is beautiful but it can be pretty messy, friends. Likewise we don’t know what life may smack us with next-but we do have the assurance that anything that comes our way is not random, but sifted through the hands the of the One who does indeed care for the gulls, the clams, the sea and the sand. Our God is not random.
When life gets messy, we sometimes start to wonder how can he bring good out of the pain, and seemingly purposeless experiences that come our way. But His Word assures us that He has a purpose and a plan in all the messy circumstances.
The next time you face a messy circumstance, ask God to help you consider it pure joy. His desire is you lack nothing. Look to Him, and He will get you through the messiest of messes and bring you through victoriously. It might not “feel” good at the time. It might not look pretty at all.
But for perseverance to finish its work, revealing maturity and completeness in Christ, faith must be tried.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
As we are emptied of ourselves, refined by His grace, we are made strong, beautiful and resilient. Being conformed to the image of Christ has never been promised to be a painless path. As He himself was poured out as an offering, may we find intimacy, comfort and encouragement knowing our suffering brings us ever closer to His good and perfect will for our lives.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4:17
*Journal Prompt & Possibilities:
1. Write the scripture into your journal: meditate on the scriptures and/or read them in their context; ponder them before the Lord and write your reflections and application for your own life today.
2. Are there experiences in your life at the moment (or in the past) that seem meaningless or painful? Bring them before the Lord in prayer and journaling seeking His perspective.
3. As a guideline, if you are challenged where to start with your journaling, begin with writing out a character or attribute that you need to believe or see in Him and praise Him for it with your pen. Example: God is faithful. Consider His faithfulness and journal your praise and thanksgiving. This will allow your perspective to magnify Him and inviting His presence. Continue as you feel led with confession, supplication and intercession. Don’t worry about order. Let the words pour out on paper as you pour out your heart before Him.
*This post is part of a series: Devotion Thoughts for Summer Days– a combination of faith based posts published between 2011-2013 revised with journaling prompts.
Thanks you for joining me on the journey!