by Rebecca Buchholz
"Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you encounter various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4
I like watching baseball and, being from Chicago, I have two great teams to choose from. I am probably one of the few Chicagoans who is a fan of both the White Sox’s and Cubs. I don’t really care, as long as I’m watching Chicago baseball. As much as I love my Chicago teams, I do have to admit; sometimes its painful to watch them play. Yelling at the T.V. over a bad catch, making gestures over a foul ball misplayed and other dramatic behavior over some bad baseball skills often erupt over the television set as a result. Watching Chicago baseball can flat out hurt, but at the end of the game, I know that all I can really do is watch. I can’t play baseball to save my life.
I used to nanny for my youth pastor’s family. All four of his children, between the ages of 4 and 12, could play twice as good as I. I can't go down to the field and kick-out the batter or pitcher who I felt was particularly horrible last game to take over his spot. All I can do is watch, faithfully turn the next game on and hope they'll do better today. 2010's the year!
Recently, I've been watching some dear friends go through their own issues, while God has been giving me a short rest from my own. I have discovered that watching my friends go through life’s trials can sometimes be twice as hard as watching any Chicago baseball game. I see something bad happening. I know just what to do. "I" know just how to deal with the problem. If it’s someone who I really care about it’s even worse. Not only can I empathize with them, I do. I get upset just knowing that they hurt. I want to rush in and “fix” it before things get worse, but it’s not my job.
God brings specific trials and tribulations into people’s lives. James 1:2-4 indicates that God brings certain situations and problems into our lives to test us and make us ready for anything. As much as I want to be their pinch hitter, I have to consider that stepping in for them might end up hurting them in the long run. Even worse, I’m meddling with God’s plans!
This not only goes for times when you see the trial coming, but during and after the trial as well. Sometimes the after math, the way the person deals with the results of the trial, is more important than the trial itself. Once again though, it’s not our job to fix it. It’s not our job to mess with the process. They have to go through sorting themselves out and dealing with the hurt in the way God needs for them to. It’s their own. Our job, as their spiritual family, is to come along side them, encourage them and help them keep their eyes on our Lord & Savior. Jesus is the One to get them through whatever and make them stronger, not us.
While I was thinking about this, in context of a friend who's having a tough time, I began to listen to Matthew West’s song “If You Ever Need Me”. The song so perfectly mirrors how I feel towards this friend but also how God had been feeling about me during my last trial. It’s definitely worth a listen. Maybe you might even know someone who needs to hear it too.