"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-3
Tonight was a rough night for my daughter, who will turn nine months old on Saturday. As I sat down to nurse her just before bedtime, she quickly found that while she was eating, she could not breathe due to severe nasal congestion. She tried several times but became frustrated and turned away, finally bursting into tears, which is unusual for her once she is eating. I knew how to help her, but I knew she wasn't going to like it.
Out came the nasal aspirator.
Several times on each nostril, I squeezed and sucked and removed more mucus that I thought was possible for an infant to have. And each time I did this, she got angrier and angrier. She thrashed her head from side to side, turning away from me every time I came at her. I wished I could just tell her that once I was done, her life would be so much better. If she could just get through the unpleasantness (and I can only imagine that having a nasal aspirator repeatedly shoved up your nose is unpleasant), she could breathe easier. Literally. And fill up her belly and have a good night's sleep.
Once she quieted down, and I sat there in the stillness, I realized that no matter our age, human beings continually struggle with seeing the "end result." We often focus too much on what is happening at the moment and how it is making us feel. Especially during difficult stretches, we rarely remember that what's more important than how we feel is whom we are becoming.
I don't necessarily believe that God sends situations our way, or tries to test us to see how our faith will hold us up. I'm not saying He never does, but I believe that, more often than not, life just happens. The great part is that it happens with God by our side. He never leaves us, though we may try to leave Him; His Spirit is always calling us back. With each bit of life that "happens" to us, He is molding and shaping us, painful though it may be. And even the end result isn't the end result. As life is in constant motion, so are our beings, constantly changing, improving, steps forward, and sometimes steps back. But whom we become is crucial, as whom we are goes with us for eternity, unlike anything else on this earth.
I hope that no matter how much I struggle, how many times I turn away, God continues to "aspirate" my life, so that I can see more clearly, and be whom I was meant to be. My suspicion is that it will be worth the struggle.