August 9 – Perseverance – When things go wrong

Read James 1:2-4

Throughout this series, we have read about the many areas that we are called to persevere through. You may find yourself relating to some topics more than others, but I think it’s important to read and study about what to do, in general, when things go wrong.

On June 14, 2019, Kelly and I were preparing to put Mattie (who was 2.5 years old at the time) down for a nap. We had just gotten back from the hospital where my Grandma was in hospice. We planned to head back after Mattie got up as his naps are important (as any parent knows).

Kelly was about to take Mattie downstairs when mom called. Thinking nothing of it, I picked up.

“Hey, Momma.”

“Honey, you know I love you, right?”

My spirit dropped.

“Mom, what’s wrong?”

“Your grandma is with Jesus.”

I have tears in my eyes writing this as I recall the initial wave of grief that came over me. My entire life, Grandma was an incredible source of joy and comfort. I remember calling her and Grandpa as a little boy and talking with them for hours.

Kelly stayed with Mattie as I drove back to the hospital, meeting my brother in the lobby. As we embraced, the tears started.

In the days that came, we were confronted with very real grief and pain.

I love the book of James. In chapter 1, we read a few verses about how our faith can become stronger:

“…because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

It’s easy to ask, “Why God? Why would you allow this to happen? Why would you take her from us? Sure, she was sick, but why now?”

The testing of your faith produces endurance.

As our family gathered around Grandma’s body in the room, Dad re-centered all of us and said that, if you were in the room when she passed, you were on holy ground because she was taken to the feet of Jesus from the spot where she laid. We were challenged to “be a Lawson” as Grandma was THE example: passionately worship God and love unconditionally.

I feel like I cried for days.

The testing of your faith produces endurance.

We knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Grandma was healed of all her pain and worshiping her Savior who she spent a lifetime serving.

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Not one member of our family is complete in their faith. But I can tell you that my faith grew as a result of Grandma passing. I grew closer to God because of the hope that He offers us through His death and resurrection from the dead, paying for the price of sin that I deserved to pay.

As you read this, I challenge you to ask yourself how you respond to life when it takes a turn for the worse? How do you react when Jesus seems so far away? Do you wallow in the pain or do you lean into the grace and peace of Christ?

It’s hard. Believe me, I know.

However, I can tell you, when you look back over a time in your life where you leaned in rather than drifted away, you know that your faith grew a little stronger and you grew more into the person God created you to be.

Lean in to Jesus today!

Jake Lawson

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