Consider it pure joy when you are faced with trials of many kinds…
Many kinds. Yes indeed.
I’m 61. In less than two months I’ll be 62. Knowing the truth of that verse in James at almost 62 is easier than trying to believe it at 22. But it’s because of living through trials of many kinds (more or less) at a young age that makes going through them when you’re older more bearable, and even joyful.
I didn’t say it doesn’t at times still suck though! It sucketh much. I believe it was my dear, departed friend, Jeff Martin, who coined that phrase. Sucketh Much (the “eth” makes it sound more King James and less crass). He had lots of good ones like that. My favorite was when someone would suggest we pray about an issue and he’d chime in with, “Has it come to that?”
May 26th I fell down the stairs and fractured, tore, and bruised my ego as well as my right knee (my Italy knee). This lovely knee of mine has been through trauma before (TWICE!). And since I (and my knee) made it through 2011 and 2014 intact I know I will again in 2022. You wanna know how I know? Cuz the Bible tells me so, that’s how.
Some may say my Sunday School Girl mindset supplies this simplistic answer (alliterate much?). But simply put, simplicity is simple. Why should we make things hard?
God said He would never leave me nor forsake me. And He hasn’t, and He isn’t, and He won’t. You may ask why He didn’t stop me from falling down the stairs in the first place. Well, because He didn’t. That’s His prerogative. Cuz He’s God. He did however keep me from falling higher up and breaking my neck and dying. So, there’s that.
We don’t get to pick what the rescue looks like. We’re only promised He’s there with us. And right now, that’s enough for me. We may not ever see the full picture or be relieved of the situation. That’s okay, too. He is there. This is not to say I haven’t cried myself to sleep several times lately. But He was there for that, too. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. Not wanting the enemy to get ahold of my thoughts, I asked Alexa to play the worship song “Jireh” for me. I cuddled under my blankets and let the words about Jehovah Jireh being my provider wash over me. The message brought peace. Because He is enough.
“You are Jireh, You are enough. Jireh, You are enough. And I will be content in every circumstance, You are Jireh, You are enough.”
Enough. Sometimes I feel like I’ve had enough, but never enough of Him. My relationship with the Lord is always good. But when I’m at my lowest is when it is REALLY good. I cry (the ugly cry) and surround myself with His presence. That is what is getting me through these days. He is enough.
I don’t want to make light of someone enduring their darkest moment. Sometimes we Christians can give such trite answers when people are suffering. Saying something like “They’re in a better place now” may cause more harm than help. But the answer is still the same. We don’t get to choose what our rescue looks like. Only that He is there. Sometimes the simple answer, though it’s the truth, feels inadequate. It sucketh much. But it’s still true. He is there.
When I was the children’s minster at Crossroads Church way back when, I asked my friend to share his toddler’s ER visit the previous week with our Sunday school class. His story had a happy ending. He got to bring his little girl home. When he finished, I reminded the kids that not all the parents who took their kids to the ER that night had the same experience. Some family’s story ended with tears. I asked them, “Does God love that family less?” “Nooo,” they replied. “He loves everybody.” Even at their young age they understood the simple complexity of God. We don’t get to see behind the veil to find out the answers and His reasons why. We just get to know He loves us, and He is there. Sometimes that’s all we get. And sometimes, though true, it Sucketh Much. But even still, He is enough.
If I had been spared this time of yet another knee injury (and the other “many kinds”) I’d be missing out on how God is blessing me with friends that are His hands and feet (and chefs, chauffeurs, and comic relief). There are other challenging issues I’m experiencing right now as well, but those are a story for another day. Suffice it to say, there are trials of many kinds (like being unemployed and losing your insurance with a hurt knee sucketh much).
In my mid-thirties I began a business called Tunes for Tots. I had only been open for a couple of weeks when I ran into a problem with the building I was renting. I needed to find a new place and was overwhelmed with how to make that happen in a short time frame. I walked around the Upper East Side of Manhattan for a while and then, as I was praying, I began laughing. God filled me with such peace that it was going to work out. I laughed and cried and couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen. I was actually very excited for this difficult situation to see my creative God in action. And he was amazing! And because of that, I know He will be again. I know, cuz the Bible tells me so.
Sometimes that knowledge is all we have to hang on to. But hold on, don’t let go. We’re not promised an easy, uneventful ride. Just a ride. I’ve had smooth, wonderfully fulfilling rides, and then rides like the one I’m on now. The kind that sucketh much. But knowing I’m holding on to Him, makes it OK. (I left out all kinds of “Jesus take the Wheel” and “Jesus is my co-pilot” references. You’re welcome.)
At times like these I grab on to the faith of The Old Testament Prophet, Habakkuk. When circumstances become overwhelming, there is the Power of Yet:
Even though the fig trees have no buds, and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty,
YET I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
Praise is powerful. It reminds us of everything He is. I praise Him because He is God. He is enough. I will wait and rest in Him. Jehovah Jireh, My Provider. He is enough.
I’ve been having conversations with the Lord and my friends lately about “causing” and “allowing” types of God actions. Did he cause me to fall down the stairs to get my attention about something? Or did he just allow it to happen so He could Romans 8:28 all over me. I have no idea which. What I do know is whatever the reason for this season I want my reaction to the action (sorry for that) to be all about showing God’s Power and Glory in my life. I have the assurance He is sovereign.
So that’s how I can…Consider it pure joy, my friends, 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
And remember that…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8
And rest in the fact that…All things God works for the good of those who love Him, and have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
So simple. Belief. Faith. Trust. Hope. Joy. Not necessarily in that order (but kinda).
God is good and God is God. He is enough. So simple. So true. Even when your circumstances Sucketh Much.
Stay tuned to see what God does with this and my other “many kinds.” I can’t take comments here, but feel free to comment on the original Facebook post.