Count it all joy my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing…. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. – James 1:2-4 & 12
I want to be steady. I so admire the people in my life that are steady in the midst of trial. There are many around us who are walking impossible roads, dealing with pain and uncertainty that simply breaks my heart. Yet, they are still filled with joy, filled with love, and a devotion to God that I strive for. There are others whom you would never know are facing a trial because of their consistency, confidence, and selflessness. Who are those people in your life, the ones you would describe as “steady”?
Webster tells us that to be steadfast is to be “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering”. If someone or something is steady we are saying they are “firmly fixed, supported, or balanced; not shaking or moving”. Don’t you want to be described in that way?
Balanced and poised instead of frantic.
Confident instead of fearful and uncertain.
It’s easy to be that person when things are falling into place, when your schedule is never interrupted, when your house is happy. But this verse tells us that the goal is to remain “resolutely firm and unwavering” throughout a trial. I decided a while ago that I was going to stop praying for patience because instead of just instantly becoming a patient person, I would have countless opportunities to display patience. And I usually missed the mark. Unfortunately, the same thing is true in this case.
In order for you and I to learn how to be steady in the midst of crazy, the trial is inevitable. And apparently, it’s necessary.
Our trials will come in many different forms and fashions. Our faith will be tested in a way that God sees fit, as an opportunity to draw us closer to Him and even draw others closer to Him. But guess what God doesn’t do? He doesn’t look at your trial and roll His heavenly eyes when you struggle because someone else’s trial is SIGNIFANTLY harder than yours. He doesn’t look at me and say, “Geez, Callie, I threw you a bone here, why is this so hard for you?” (Can we take a second to PRAISE HIM for being way more gracious to you and I than we are to ourselves?)
God knows exactly what trial, what test, you and I need in order to produce steadfastness. He wants us to be steady. But here’s the deal—He doesn’t want you to learn how to be confident in yourself. He doesn’t want you to be resolute in your own understanding. Or to be unwavering simply because you’ve learned how to stand tall and strong on your own. It is a testing of our faith that produces steadfastness. We are learning how to rely fully on our Lord so that we are steady in, and through, Him and Him alone.
I cannot get this passage in James out of my head. Nearly every situation I’ve faced in the last few weeks points back to this: to counting the mishaps that occur, the frustrations that arise, the misunderstandings, the weariness, and the uncertainties as JOY because they are my trials right now. Each trial, every test, just happens to be an opportunity to lean into my Savior and learn to remain steady.
What is your trial? What test are you facing today?
It is your opportunity to stay balanced on God’s Word when you’re world feels chaotic.
It is your opportunity to be confident that the God who called you to this uncertain moment will not leave you alone.
It is your opportunity to stand firm when giving up, or giving in, would be easier.
It is your opportunity to be resolute that God will give you victory in this battle.
But how? How do we remain steadfast in the midst of trials? Sometimes it just feels nearly impossible, doesn’t it? God simply asks that we face the test in front of us. We get out of bed every day, we keep walking, we keep praying. We keep looking up and leaning into our Savior. We persevere until one day, the test is over and we realized how much stronger we are, how much more we look like Jesus.
Let’s be steady today. God, teach us to rely on you as you establish steadfastness in our life so that when steadfastness has its full effect, we may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Freebie: the song that inspired me to turn to James in the first place. Enjoy!