This week I received an update from a ‘significant’ leader of our movement, and a great guy, Stewart Piper, which included his reflections on facing his personal trial. I felt to share it with you. 

“On this day 12 months ago, I underwent surgery to have my prostate removed to treat the malignant cancer… I am thankful to God that 12 months later I am blessed with a full recovery… I have been reflecting on my own experience of trials in the light of the COVID -19 Health Emergency that we are all affected by. I have a renewed appreciation for the words of James:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:1-5

Here are some of my takeaways from James:

· Trials are a reality for all of us. “… whenever you face trials of many kinds”…

· It is about perspective. We have to “consider” whatever we are going through from the secure perspective of faith and our relationship with God in Jesus.

· We can have joy in the midst of trials because of a right perspective. James tells us that trials work for us not against us when we understand that they help us mature in our faith.

· The testing of our faith is not a pass/fail kind of test, but a testing that exposes what might be lacking in our Christian maturity… 

· What James says we should pray for in trying times is surprising: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault…”.  Why not pray for strength, or endurance, or grace, or deliverance?! I think we need wisdom in difficult times so that we do not waste the opportunities that God is providing in our circumstances for us to mature in our faith…

I would have rather not experienced prostate cancer and surgery, but I know that this experience has matured me in ways that I would have missed out on had I not gone through that trial…In whatever trial you are facing at the moment… take time to reflect on your joy levels and pray for wisdom to see who God is for you in this time and how he wants to upgrade your faith…” 

Some wise words to chew on!

Coram Deo,

Mark