This past couple of weeks we had threats of snow in the forecast. While for some of you this may not be that big of a deal, for those of us in the Pacific Northwest it is like getting a child ready for Christmas. People get a little panicky and even prepare as if they will be housebound for weeks. The truth is, the milder climate we live in does not lend itself to favorable conditions for long periods of cold.
Regardless, we did get a little bit and, as always, it was beautiful and did not disappoint. Snow is interesting. Most times it comes in quietly and slowly. Even when it is falling it looks like it is coming down at a slow and almost fluttering rate. When it comes, it comes steady.
The effect produces breathtaking views.
In the book of James there is a passage that talks about the steadiness we are to have as Christians. James 1:2-4 says
Count it all joy, my brothers, 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 lacking nothing.
Steadfastness is defined as “resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering, loyal, standing firm”. James is just getting ready to tell his readers that we are not to be easily swayed by the worldly ideas and that we are to stay steady in our faith.
That is hard to do when trials are thrown at us. Human nature wants to question, be angry, think that it is unfair, and be generally frustrated that we are not getting our way.
But God promises that trials will result in the perfection of our faith. Not just of our faith but our whole being and we will not lack anything. The one definition that helps me understand steadfastness is the word “loyal”. We all have known someone or had a pet who is loyal. They are always counted on to be present. We can trust they will not turn on us. Secrets are safe with them.
Sadly, we often know many who are opposite of loyal. We have been burned, betrayed, or deceived. But God tells us that the testing of our faith produces this kind of loyalty. That, if we choose, we say firmly “I know my God will be faithful”.
This is a hard place to come to in our walk of faith. It takes practice and patience. It takes a daily minute by minute effort to say “God, you are faithful. I trust you”.
As we trust God more, we realize that He is the author of steadfastness and loyalty. He is continually at work in us perfecting these attributes in our lives, as He is showing us them in His own nature.
This steadfastness produces something beautiful in our lives and tells the world about the faithfulness of God. They watch us and know that we have something that is keeping us together in times of crisis, calm in chaos, and kind in the face of cruelty.
This testing of our faith, produces a beauty that nothing in this world can offer and everything that matters! So let yourself become a picture of breathtaking beauty!