“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance,” James 1:2-3
I am in a trial. A big one. One of the biggest of my life. It doesn’t seem very joyful. In fact it hurts right down to my core. The situation is not going to go away because I made a vow to honor, love and cherish until death parts us. I made that vow to God as well as him. Because he has chosen to break that vow does not give me the right to do so. It just does not make it easy to keep the vow alive in my heart.
But God is alive in my heart. He is my comfort and strength. What am I called to do? I am called to not judge ( judgment is a final act). I am called to turn the other cheek and forgive seventy times seven. That does not mean I am called to forget or to write it off as if it does not matter. I am called to give it to God. To lay it at the Cross, every day, every hour that the hurt and anger and feelings of betrayal creep back into my heart. That is my protective boundary- the shadow of the Cross. There is the joy – because there is my hope.
When people hurt us, offend us, betray us and no longer love us, we can turn to Jesus who knows what heartache and suffering is and chose to love anyway. And He chose to forgive. He still does.. Until I turn it over to Jesus I cannot forgive and thus God will not forgive my sins. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Until I forgive, I keep the focus on me and wallow in my hurt. There is the joy- because there is my healing.
It is not easy, far from it. I struggle with it each day. But my heart is growing stronger, and my faith is alive. My relationship with the One who will always love me is closer. And when this trial is over, how ever it turns out, He will still be there and I will still be in His protective hands. There is the joy – because there is my peace.
Whatever trial you are facing, look to God to guide you into forgiveness. To forgive means to turn it over to God to handle. It does not erase the offense, it covers it with prayer. Only then can our Lord begin the healing, no matter if the offender repents or not. It’s no longer in your hands- it is between them and God. The test? Who do you trust above all else? He wants to pass you with flying colors, He’ll even give you the answers. When you know that in the depths of your heart, you can persevere. Then there will be your joy – because there will be victory.
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12