So many people have asked me, “Karman, WHY is this happening to you? I don’t understand it,” and then they will go on to list reasons why they think this should not be happening to me which means that it should be happening to someone else. I will also admit that there have been many times over the course of this extremely long illness that I have found myself asking, “WHY me, Lord?” After each time that I would ask this question, I would continue by telling Him all the reasons I felt I should not be going through this…“I’ve started this ministry that is working soooo hard to get more people serving for You.” “Each day we are helping people who are hopeless and really in need in this world.” “My heart wants to go back to Peru on many more mission trips to help the hurting there.” “Have you forgotten about the two teenage daughters who need me and who I want to love well?” Enough said. You get the point. Each of these was just my pathetic way of telling God why this awful illness should not be happening to me because of all that I was doing for Him, which was just another way of saying, “Give it to someone else!”
And then His response, “Dear brothers and sisters (or Dear Karman), when troubles come your way, consider it and opportunity for great joy! For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing!” James 1:2-4
An opportunity for great joy?!?!? Count leaving my family as great joy? Count walking away from the ministry I love so much as great joy? Count not being able to lift my head from my pillow because the pain is too bad as great joy? Count missing all the people I love so much in Peru as great joy? Count sadness and loneliness and tears as great joy?
To each of these and many more, just a one word answer, “YES!”
I will be honest. I don’t have any idea how to do this. However, I have slowly come to realize that it is only when I begin to look at the reason for this trial that I am able to begin to believe this answer of “YES.” God’s purpose for trials is to challenge our faith through the tests. Also, it is an opportunity to grow our character by developing patience, endurance, peace and contentment in the midst of hardship and pain. It’s easy to say I have faith when everything is easy and happy and thriving and great. I believe this is my chance to “Walk the Walk and Not Just Talk the Talk!”
So instead of asking, “Why Me, Lord,” I’ve begun saying, “Why Not Me, Lord?”
Instead of saying “What is this, Lord,” I’m asking, “What Do You Want to Teach Me, Lord?”
Over these next several weeks, I will share each hard lesson I have learned and how I am beginning (even if ever soooo slightly) to look at this time of trouble as an opportunity for great joy!