For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up in you the power of endurance. And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking. -James 1:3-4
There are days when I wake up feeling flat toward God and far from Him. I had one of those days today. When that happens, I tell God about it and ask Him to work in me and change my heart. It’s not that I have lost faith in God, it’s that I do not feel connected to Him. Thankfully, I wake up most mornings full of the joy of the Lord. So, I know the difference; and I don’t like it.
I’m reading a little book called The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade. This morning I read chapter 6 “With God the More We Seem to Lose, the More We Gain.” As usual, it was God’s perfect timing that put me there on a morning when I was feeling distant and flat toward Him. In this chapter, the author explains essentially what James explained in his letter. That when our faith is tested it stirs up in us the power of endurance and as our endurance grows stronger so does our faith, until it is made perfect.
Jean-Pierre explains it using the illustration of a musician who combines long practice with perfect understanding of music. As he practices with his sheet music in front of him, he learns the musical composition perfectly. Then, when the sheet music is removed, he is able to enhance the composition with his own talent and passion. Its only then that the song is becoming his own and he is growing stronger as a musician.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. Who hopes for what he sees? Who is not convicted of things he sees?
If I woke up every morning with my faith full of life and beauty and power, feeling fully connected to God, my faith would not be tested and my endurance would not grow strong. I would rely on those feelings. But, when I wake up flat and feeling distant, I must endure in faith and that is when the faith becomes my own and grows in power and beauty and perfection.
Have faith, brothers and sisters, especially when you don’t feel it. For that is when your faith is being perfected.