This morning's service was very apt and challenging for me. It was a Palm Sunday service, and the speaker reminded us how the same crowd who laid palm leaves and shouted "hosanna" as Jesus approached Jerusalem just a few days later shouted "crucify him". Isn't it easy for us to look back at that time, that crowd and shake our heads at their fickle behavior. They saw Jesus as their savior and when He didn't appear to save them in the way they wanted, they turned on him in anger. As today's speaker pointed out, well, aren't we exactly the same? Don't we stand in church on a Sunday and worship God, only to turn from Him in anger when we face pain and suffering?
I know I am guilty of this- as my last post will attest to. The greatest challenge for me as a Christian over the past few years has been trust. When people try to help me in my pain by talking about God's plan, it is very hard to hear, harder still to be comforted by. In the darkest depths of grief, disappointment and despair, the simple answer is "I don't like this plan, why would God plan this for me?" But faith is trusting in what is not seen, in what is yet to come. It is hard, so hard when the yet to come takes a great deal lomger to arrive than we would choose. But, I am working on reaching that place of trust, that my faithful God will keep His promises to me.
The letter of James is a small book tucked away towards the end of the new testament. It is a great book with loads of practical advice on how to live as a Chrisitan. But, it does challenge us too. It opens with a call to consider suffering as joy, and goes on to admonish us not to be "double minded" or to doubt. I am slowly coming to understand verses such as James 1:2-8. Of course the suffering itself will not produce "joy" but I can indeed trust that God is using it to aid my growth to spiritual maturity. I still say, and I expect I will say to my dying breath, that I wish He had chosen another way to teach me, that my son's life was too high a price to pay, but, I will also continue until my dying breath to endeavor to find trust.