“Count it all joy . . . 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 . . .” James 1:2-4 ESV
Maybe I’m just weird, but it irritates me how reluctant people are to ponder their own mortality. I wrote about this before – how we need to fearlessly look at life in terms of death, eternity, and the things that are of real importance (see Matt. 6:19-21). But as I recently turned twenty, I’ve started to realize more and more how quickly it all goes and how essential it is to me that I come to the end of my life – which is approaching faster than I probably realize, according to Psalm 39:4-7 – with the confidence that I lived it well.
The hard thing about that is that hard things exist in life at all. But if there wasn’t a contrast between the hard things and the easier things, life would not really be life in the first place. We would just be floating along in the same physical, spiritual, and emotional state as when we began. Difficult experiences act as milestone markers for all the different stages of our lives; and even better, they teach us to appreciate the times when we’re easily enjoying the journey. The beauty and meaning, and thus the progress, are made evident through this friction and variation.
One moment we’re busy running the race, struggling to find our footing, and then we come around the bend to find obstacles strewn all across the path. Sometimes it doesn’t even take an obstacle – God only knows how often I fall on my face just from tripping over my own feet. Yet it is always through those times that I am changed, that I am forced to die to self, and that I am reminded of the sovereignty of God in His bringing all the shards and seasons of my life together into a beautiful mosaic, crafted with pieces of all different colors and textures and shapes. And this is what makes it a work of art, worthy of display, rather than a permanently blank canvas.
Father, I praise Your ability as Creator and Your sovereignty in the course of my life. Help me to notice, according to Your will, how capable You are of bringing the different pieces together into a masterpiece, especially when some of the pieces don’t seem beautiful on their own. Give me the strength and stamina to live my life in submission to You; willing to be molded, ready to adjust to the changes, and humble enough to admit how finite I am.
Take the time to read and meditate on these passages: Psalm 139; Isaiah 45:9-10 and 46:10; and Romans 9:19-21.