|Unleash Your Joy!|
Good Sunday morning!! I am your hostess this week for the Stampin' Sisters in Christ challenge to stamp inspired by scripture! The scripture, challenge, and devotional can be read in full here...but please be sure to stop by our blog to see all the fun and colorful DT challenge cards!
James 1:2-3 "Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance."
I’ve been participating in a Bible study on the book of James this past several weeks. When we came to this verse, I was immediately drawn to the meaning of the word “various.” This word is translated: poikilois: existing in various kinds of modes, diversified, manifold, variegated, many- colored. As a stamper you can imagine the words, “many colored,” caught my attention. When I think of “many- colored,” my mind rests on brightly colored poppies in green meadows, the aurora borealis sky, or the variegated greens of the lush walking trails I remember while living in Oregon. But when looking at my own set of recent trials, the first color that came to mind was gray. The stretch of gray that descended like a canopy of bleakness over a sky that did not contain a sun. I had to ask myself, is this what God is trying to produce in me? Instead of stalwart of faith; I was allowing this trial to take my very feet from under me and become a victim rather than a victor.
Then the bouquet of flowers arrived. There they were, a dozen roses, in beautiful hues of pale pink, peach, lavenders, and pure white. They sat in a vase on my table, and each time I stood in my kitchen, I was reminded of the word “many-colored.” Each time I watered the flowers, I was given a waft of aromatic fragrance that was beautiful. God was speaking softly to me through those flowers. Could it be that my multi-colored trials are like these flowers? Are they not given from the outstretched hand of a loving God? Whatever my thoughts on my particular set of trials, God says that I am to consider it a great joy. I have always grappled with this verse. Have you? I think sometimes the way I think about a trial is more important than the trial itself. If I think of it as a punishment coming from a punitive God, then I will most likely either rebel in resentment or cower in a corner. But if I “consider” beforehand that trials are allowed by and sometimes providentially given to me for the testing of my faith with the end product being endurance…then isn’t that a good thing? For the testing of my faith proves that I am His. And if my faith fails then that is a gift because it allows me to realize I have been relying on my own self-sufficiency instead of my need for God! And then the opportunity presents itself to run to Him. The shift in thinking then is where part of the victory lies.
And then I came to 1 Peter 4:10: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” There is the word, “manifold” again, many-colored. Many-colored grace. So for every many-colored trial, there is also a multicolored grace given by God.
So then, I wonder…if when we are going through a trial, part of the victory is in being able to come alongside someone else who is suffering and serve them? How many times have you or I gone through something and later a friend or someone in your circle of influence needs the same thing that you were given during your time of suffering? Grace…it can come in all forms. I am reminded of the friend who visited me as I sat with our daughter after spending the fifth night in the hospital with a window seat as my bed. She came with a basket containing a pot of tea and a bag of popcorn. As she poured the tea into the teacup…the china cup was filled with the loveliest shade of orange and amber liquid. Grace for my trial. And just as there are manifold (multi-colored) trials…God has given us multi-colored grace.
Amy Carmichael, one who suffered much, wrote this:
“The best training is to learn to accept everything as it comes, as from Him whom our soul loves. The tests are always unexpected things…not great thing that can be written up, but the common little rubs of life, silly little nothings that you are ashamed of minding at all. Yet they can knock a strong man over and lay him very low.”
Our Prize Sponsor is : LaLa Land Crafts, so be sure to visit them to thank them for their sponsorship!
My Card details:
Stamps: Flourishes: Kids at Play, Country Charm Labels (sentiment)
Paper: Watercolor, Bazill Blue, Basic Black
Ink: Memento Black, Luminarte for the sky (for a bit of sparkle and color)
Accessories: SU! Dimensionals
Thanks so very much for coming by and supporting Stampin' Sisters in Christ. We hope you will join us in this colorful challenge and can't wait to see all your creations!