As some of you may know, I have committed to study the Book of James during Lent.
I have promised to share what I learn as I go through this journey.
Book of James Part 1 (James 1:2-18)
This section was about keeping strong during the tough times. James reminds us to consider these tough times as pure joy and an opportunity to mature in our faith.
I remember reading this book a few years ago and thought James was crazy for suggesting this idea. The thought that something bad in my life could be a good thing was absurd.
Then my three-year-old Godson died.
Our family was heartbroken and in so much pain.
So many people shared this common phrase with me: “God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle”. I resented this phrase.
Why would God test my faith by taking away a child I loved? Why would God cause so much pain for our family? A God who is about love and about compassion. I challenged this statement by asking God to help me understand.
Asking God for help is what James suggests we do when we are lacking answers. So that’s what I did, I asked God for wisdom and waited for God’s answers.
At my Godson’s funeral, I still remember what the priest said to the congregation of 300 people: Wyatt’s death was not an act of God. This comment stuck with me because it was the complete opposite of what I thought I knew. The complete opposite of that phrase I resented.
But James writes that God doesn’t tempt our faith. God would not purposely cause bad things in our lives to test us our faith. It’s just not who God is.
A few months after Wyatt’s death, I asked God to guide me and help our family get through this pain. Soon, God nudged me to write my thoughts down to help with my grief. This gave birth to one of my first stories I published online.
Today, I write on many platforms and have found my voice in the writing community. Inspiring others to explore their faith is my purpose in life. I wouldn’t say I experienced joy and of course Wyatt’s death was not a good thing, but I can’t help but acknowledge losing Wyatt had a small part in helping me find my purpose. Writing that article about him uncovered a desire I didn’t even know was inside me.
For that, I’ll be forever grateful.
The reality is bad things will happen and our faith will be tested. That’s not God’s doing, that’s just life. When our faith is tested it naturally produces perseverance. We have to remember to lean on God to help get through the pain and let God bring us out of the darkness toward the light. God will help us persevere through our unfortunate circumstances. We just have to remember to ask for help – and have faith God will help. It just may be in ways we may not understand today.