My boys play football. It not only comes with my favorite time of year, it also comes with bruises, stinky jerseys, and extra medical bills. Both boys like the challenge and hard work. The other day, Chandler was missing his 350lb teammate that recently left. He said, “Mom, I really miss practicing with him, because he was so much bigger than me. He really challenged me; without him, I feel like I’m getting weaker and less of a player because there is no one bigger than me to go against.”
What insight! He knows that if it’s easy on the field, he’ll never get better. This is exactly what James 1:2-4 is talking about when it says, “Count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
It’s no coincidence when Chandler made this comment I was reading in James. Immediately, I was reminded this 350lb challenge my son missed is that trial in James. It is something that is bigger than we are; it assesses where we stand and shows us where are deficient.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m under pressure or things seem bigger than me, or I’m failing life like a kindergartener trying to take test for a pharmaceutical license, my little, weak insides want to bolt. But that is never the answer. God is standing right there with me and with you (if you are a follower of Christ) and saying, “Let patience have its perfect work.” In other words He is saying, “Stand up under this, because I’m building you into a stronger, more complete, person than you would have been otherwise.” If we don’t trust him, stand firm, and patiently yield to Him in these stinky trials that are bigger than us, then we end up being less than what we could be. We are deficient. Not only that, its good to be reminded these trials come, because we are currently less than we are supposed to be.
If the coach on my son’s football team were to never bring him to go against boys bigger than him, never push him to work harder and do more than he felt like, and only made it easy, he would be a wimp and have no real understanding of what greater things he is capable of doing. God knows our hearts. He made us. He knows where we are deficient and where we need to be made more like him. Embrace your trials. Ask God to help you to patiently stand up under it and to learn what He wants to teach you. And if you're like me, just shut up, listen, and let patience have its perfect work.