Patience's Perfect Work

"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." James 1:2-4

As I interact with baby #3, now two weeks old, it keeps striking me what a different mommy I am than when I had my first baby. No, I haven't morphed into super-mommy or "arrived" by any means (Philippians 3:12), but God has changed me in the years between #1 and #3. 

Almost six years of raising children has tested me. The "various trials" of the years have chipped away at self-centeredness, anxiety, and impatience. (For the record, my husband has always been the more patient one with our babies). 

I am like a statue in progress, no longer a mass of rock and formlessness. God's vision for me is beginning to take shape.

"Various trials" (verse 2) for me have taken the form of temper tantrums, stubborn wills, fights over what outfits to wear, fights over napping, sleepless nights, sickness, physical exhaustion, marriage trials, and so on--the daily challenges of raising children and being a wife.

But these trials, in the hands of our Redeemer, have tested my faith, revealing a faithful God and an unmovable faith in HIM. This testing has developed "steadfastness"--also translated constancy, endurance, patience. James 2:4 says that this steadfastness, as it grows and begins to define our character, is what is necessary for our completion.

I would not have chosen to endure hardships given the choice, but as I begin to know and trust my Jesus more, I begin to embrace each testing as an opportunity to build this all-important patience. 

Is your endurance being stretched right now? Can you learn to cherish the benefits of this stretching, seeing each situation as the careful planning of the God who cares more about your soul and ultimate joy than your immediate comfort? He set the example when He, "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2)

from my printable Scripture card set available here

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