“Consider it a sheer gift, friend, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way”. James 1:2-3 (The Message)
My dear friend and mentor had pancreatic cancer. She was living a very full life and one that had been unusually healthy. She had always taken such good care of her mind, body, and soul! Now this. It didn’t seem possible.
But when I talked to her, she was calm, joyful, and looking forward to whatever was to come next. She said things like, “I am never alone” and she led me into worship as never before. When I talked to her a few months ago about one of my own struggles, we compared notes. That’s when she said, “As we grow spiritually, the tests get tougher.”
Really? The tough test I was facing related to the fact that God was challenging me to spiritual growth? I was actually pleased to think that He loved me enough to invite me to go deeper with Him. Then I looked back at Marge and saw the real peace and sustained joy that she had in her trial and realized that she was up for the challenge. I would be, too. God will not give me a test that I cannot handle, but He will give me a test that will make me stronger and will increase my intimacy with Him.
If that’s what it takes to draw me closer to You, bring it on, Lord. I am grateful that You care enough to give me new opportunities to grow.
“Do not let me waste the trial You send me. It is a gold mine I must exploit.” – St. Therese