Hope, Peace & Perseverance

Let me just start by saying that for the purpose of this blog post, let’s hope this is not a season defined by the latter part of that definition above, “an indefinite period of time”… goodness.

Just as the weather is characterized by the different seasons, as Christians we know our walk is also characterized by spiritual seasons we go through over and over again; fruitful seasons, darker seasons feeling isolated and alone, seasons of trials, etc.  It is a constant, life-long process of the Holy Spirit moving and working in us to make us more like Christ.

 “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

At first, immense joy erupts in me, and I hope in you too, at the thought of becoming less like my sinful self, and more like my Savior.  Then, the reality that it is not always an easy process, brings me back down to where I've been finding myself lately; feeling slightly deflated and a little discouraged.  I say only “slightly” and “a little” because at the same time, there are still these tiny bursts of hope and an eagerness to seek the Lord through it all.  Maybe you can relate.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
James 1:2-8

Where I find myself today is in a season of trial, testing my patience and true faith.  In the passage above Paul writes, “When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  …such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”   The first thing that came to mind when I read that was, “omg, I am the wave.”  I am being double-minded and unstable.  I know walking through this season just as any other is for a purpose and for me right now I feel the Lord peeling away at me to reveal the godly woman he created me to be; fearless and hopeful, patient and of genuine faith. Not an unstable, doubtful wave.  

My husband and I have been ready through John Piper’s “This Momentary Marriage” which as the website states, “Exalts the biblical meaning of marriage over its emotion, exhorting couples to keep their covenant as a display of Christ’s covenant-keeping love for the church. He aims to lift the church’s low view of marriage to something infinitely greater, namely, a vision of Jesus’ unswerving allegiance to and affection for his bride. And indeed it does.  We recently finished the chapter titled The Beautiful Faith of Fearless Submission which discusses the role of the Christian wife.  Throughout the chapter Piper is constantly referencing 1 Peter 3:

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” 1 Peter 3:3-6

Those verses stuck with me like glue through the entire chapter.  I am loud, not gentle and quiet and I most certainly have been wavering between fear and hope which in turn can make it very hard to feel content and peaceful.  Layer, by layer, I feel God showing me the part of my old, sinful self I need to let go of and just how amazing life has a godly woman, fully dependant on my Savior could be if I just give in.  Completely let go of myself and latch on to His strength and guidance.  God has been revealing to me more and more what my true desires really are.  To let go of these worldly standards and plans and to find freedom and peace in knowing that His plan is SO much greater and SO much better than anything my little brain could ever come up with.  That even if my desires are pure (achm…babies), that it still doesn't mean I get to decide on the when or even the how for that matter.  I still must wait patiently (and faithfully) for His timing.

My prayers as of late have been filled with pleas for hope, peace and perseverance.  Prayers that I would only find hope in my Lord; not in my husband, my job, the future of our family, Bobby's career, etc, etc, etc.  How easy it is for us to become worrisome and fearful of these things when we lose hope in our almighty God?  Prayers that the Holy Spirit would strip me of my selfish, self-consumed desires to allow me to find peace in Him and in knowing that my God is so much greater than it all.  And finally prayers for perseverance; that I would trust and believe deep in my heart that this will all produced faith-building perseverance so that I may be mature and complete in my faith. That I would be fearless because of my strong hope in the Lord, and allow Him to do his work in me to mold me into the disciple He is calling me to be, for His greater glory.

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:7

If you made it to the end, thanks for sticking around to read about the inner ramblings of my thoughts and my heart...they are sometimes jumbled and not the most fluid but always real and honest. 

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