This morning when I woke up, I began thinking about waking on Thanksgiving morning, 2001. We were having 30 family members for Thanksgiving lunch that day and I had not planned to get up early. The Lord woke me at 4 a.m. and began prodding me to get up and spend time with Him before the day began. I lay there and argued for a few minutes reminding Him of how busy the day would be and that maybe I needed the rest. After awhile, I was wide awake so I got up and went into the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot. While the coffee was brewing, I opened my Bible and it opened to the first chapter of James. I sat there and read haphazardly while the coffee was brewing and after I got my first cup of coffee, I read James 1 again and I meditated on verses 2-4 and verse 27 especially.
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:2-4, 27
That morning, all I was doing was being obedient to meet with my Lord. I had no idea that at 9 p.m. that night I would receive a call from our granddaughter, Cara, that her mom and our daughter, Shari, had been hit by a drunk driver in the driveway of her in-law’s home. Shari died a couple of hours later while in surgery. James 1 became precious to me that day and is still precious today because I realized in the weeks after Shari’s death that the Lord Jesus was urging me to get up. He was grieving what we would go through that night, and He wanted me to know that He would be with us in the days ahead.
We are going through another trial right now and when trials come, I always go back to these verses because they bring me great comfort. My husband, Johnny, has had stage four prostate cancer for 15 years now. At the time of his diagnosis in October, 1997, he was given about two years to live. Praise God, he is still alive, but it is still a battle to fight each day. I have started writing about our journey on CaringBridge.org. If you want to know how Johnny is doing and how to pray for us, you can join for free at www.caringbridge.org/visit/johnnylewis1. Each time I post you will receive an email telling you there is a new message.
All of us go through trials in this life. It is very important that we learn to respond and not react. My dear friend of over 40 years, Pat Lewis, who was my assistant for 15 years, is going through a trial right now. Her 95-year-old mother has lived with Pat for the last 2½ years and is now in hospice care and close to the end of her life here on earth. I long to be with Pat during this time, but my priorities are here with Johnny. In times like these, the greatest gift I can give my friend is to lift her up to God in prayer.
Do you have trials going on in your life right now? Do you have friends or neighbors who are going through trials? The most important thing you can do is to pray every day. Those of us going through the trial might have a hard time praying. This is why it is so important that our brothers and sisters in Christ pray for us when we don’t know how to pray for ourselves. I can promise you that as you are faithful to pray for others going through trials, God will raise up people to pray for you when you go through your own trials. This is the way the body of Christ is designed to work.
Trials are a part of this life on earth. My desire is to pass these tests with flying colors so that others might know that God will be there for them when they go through their own trials.