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. James 1:2-3
I recently started a Bible study on the book of James. Right off the bat, verses 2-3 hit me right where I live. I’ve taken a few days to sit back and let the words sink into my spirit. It’s no coincidence that I start a study and find the words to be timely and have impact on my life.
Perseverance- to continue a course of action in spite of a difficulty, opposition
This year, my husband and I have lived these verses. With the death of our daughter, we have grieved, asked questions, and tried to figure out what our life will look like in the future. The thing I’ve learned, and this amazes me about God, is that it’s all right to ask questions. Even the hard ones. God is way bigger and way stronger than I am. He can handle the gut wrenching questions and still be loving and merciful, not angry that I would dare pose such anguished questions to Him.
So I asked. Lots of questions. And found that God answers if we listen. I have probably spent more time in prayer and study this year than ever before in my life. Because of this, I have walked into a new dimension in my relationship with God. I have a better understanding of the Word and how to apply it in my life. I look at people differently, with more mercy and compassion. We dealt with a lot of nice people during my daughter’s illness and it showed us that the world isn’t all bad. Probably the most important thing that came from losing my daughter is that I view eternity differently than before. Now, I make spiritual decisions in light of eternity, not from a world view. This change of thinking has really impacted my life, in all areas, even my writing.
I recently spoke to a youth group, and of course, the topic of my daughter’s death came up. I was able to take the tragedy and turn it around to make the kids think about the choices they make in life. My daughter choose to serve God and because of that she is rewarded by now residing in Heaven. Let’s face it, that’s the ultimate goal. Some get there sooner than others.
My husband and I have been Christians for along time. Did we grieve over my daughter’s death? Yes. Did we ever think about walking away from God? Never. He has been too good, too steady in our lives. I couldn’t imagine not having his strength to fall back on in the tough times. And because of His faithfulness, I will see my daughter again one day.
My prayers is for those who know the Lord to move into a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him. There is so much joy to be found there. And for those on the fence? Give your relationship with God a chance to grow. You won’t be disappointed.