“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.”
What in the world is Paul talking about? Does he know what it is like to live in NYC today?
Those were my thoughts as I read this verse.
For most of my life, things were pretty steady. There were not too many radical trials – I went through the typical adolescent phase with few pimples and hair sprayed two to three inches of bangs. During college, my biggest concerns revolved around what might happen on midnight of January 1st, 2000.
But in March of 2010, my family received news of my sister’s pregnancy out of wedlock. When I heard the news, I did not know how to accept it. I kept asking God, “Why my family? Where are you? How did this happen? How will my parents deal with this?” My thoughts were running 120 miles per minute.
The news of pregnancy was just the start of the storm. My sister and the baby’s father did not get along. Small fights led to an ongoing custody battle of my nephew who is now turning four in December. For every one of those years, we’ve had to deal with a constant stream of court orders and visitation dates. Few holidays were spent without my nephew; most holidays were filled with drama from his dad. But today, as I write this devotion, I can confidently say I know that God is in the midst of this storm, and He will not forsake my family.
In the middle of everything, my Growth Group supported me. I held onto each week knowing that I had a community that offered prayer and encouragement. It was not a coincidence that I was in a Growth Group; it was God’s divine appointment for me to meet and mature with a group of Christians! Each semester, God provided a community for me to run the race through the storm.
It’s been a blessing to partake in my nephew’s life. I still remember his first laugh, and his first step. Today, he is in preschool singing his ABCs and counting. I could never have foreseen there would be so much joy and laughter in the face of that devastating news in 2010.
Are you facing your giant today? Do you doubt the outcome of the storm?
The apostle Paul says, “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.”
My family and I are still facing court trials and we do not know when this will all end. However, in the midst of the storm, we laugh whenever this preschooler commands us to sit in specific chair, or announces the fact that he can name all the dinosaurs. Today, I want to encourage you to hang tight through your storms and while facing giants.
Persevere with your Growth Group, and at the end of the tunnel, you will see that God was, is, and will always be with you.
Annabell Lee is leading a Community Service Growth Group this Fall!