This has been a week filled with conflict and trials--just one of those weeks when God really tests whether or not I really trust that His plan is better than mine! A few nights ago, I was sitting in my room and just felt like everything was crashing down on me all at once. I hadn't been making any time to spend with Jesus, I had multiple projects and tests due, I was in the midst of conflict with friends, and overall I just felt as if I was failing to really do a good job of anything! It was then, that God tugged on my heart and said "Katie, stop freaking out and take time to listen to what I have to say to you. I'm here and I want to help you, but you have to let me." I realized that I was trying to do everything on my own--and failing MISERABLY!!! That's because we aren't supposed to do everything on our own! God offers us His hand for a reason. He is always right beside me waiting to help me and I am usually so busy trying to do it myself that I forget that I don't have to.
I've been reading in James a lot this week. I've read James more times than I can count! It's one of those books of the Bible that I've grown up reading and been taught my whole life. Honestly, I probably know it better than any other book in the Bible, but somehow God always teaches me something new every time I read it!! The other night when I was having such a rough time I just opened it and started reading. The second through eighth verse of the first chapter says, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being an double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."
The first few verses that talked about going through trials have always been really important and encouraging verses in my life, but this week they just really hit home! I needed to be reminded of that. Going through trials is never fun and obviously not easy (that's the whole point of trials!), but God has a greater purpose. Somehow these trials bring him glory. We may not see the big picture, but that's the point! God does! That's why He is God and we aren't!! If we were never tested we would never grow in our faith and we wouldn't have the need to believe in a sovereign God! If for no other reason, God tries us as a means to make us cry out to Him and realize our utter dependence on Him.
The second part of these verses talks about asking for wisdom and asking in faith. When God puts us in these difficult situations He wants us to cry out to him! He wants us to ask Him for help and seek His guidance. But He doesn't want us to just ask; He wants us to ask in faith. In fact, he says that if we don't ask in faith we are double-minded. We can't ask with an attitude of "Oh, maybe God will answer my prayer." God is all-powerful and all-knowing. He has the power to change every situation and sometimes He does, but we have to ask in faith with not even the slightest hint of doubt! This is not to say that God will change everything just because we ask, but if we ask in His will, wanting only what He wants, in order that He may get all the glory, He hears our prayers and sometimes He chooses to lead us out of hardships.
Ultimately God has been teaching me that He is ever faithful and He loves me so much! He tries us only to teach us and He is with us every step of the way through every situation! He hears us when we cry and He loves us enough to take care of our every need!