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continuing the conversation – trials as joy

November 9, 2008

Today was a really rewarding day for me both as a son and as the pastor of The Bridge.  My Dad and The Bridge’s founding pastor, Rick Howerton, kicked off the book of James by teaching through the first four verses.

This passage was both hard to hear and very relevant today because of some tragedy in the life of a family that’s very near and dear to The Bridge.  A LOT of things stood out to me, but none more than when Dad said this about verse 2…

Latch onto those three words – “for you know”.  You’ll only be able to count trials as joy if you focus more on the outcome than the trial.

Confession: I don’t do this, but looking back I see it…

– I wouldn’t know what Paul really meant when he jeered at death in 1 Corinthians 15 if I hadn’t stood next to my Godly Grandfather’s dead body and wept and felt joy at the same time earlier this year.

– The Holy Spirit would still be just a concept to me if I hadn’t experienced His presence during a period of depression and doubt in the winter of 2005.

– If Jana had not been diagnosed with Stage III melanoma this June, I would not understand how God can both be sovereign and stand in a posture of opposition and anger toward suffering like Jesus did in John 11.

– Had a student in Mt. Washington not taken her own life while I was a youth pastor there, I would not understand Jesus’ gospel-centered words about the Tower of Siloam in Luke 13. 

What about you?  What has God taught you in the midst of pain?

PS – We’re making a change in the blog design.  It’s called sunburn… anything warm is my friend right now.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Shelley permalink
    November 11, 2008 10:47 am

    We love the authenticity that we’ve seen in both you and your Dad, Josh — it draws people to the Kingdom. Thanks for challenging us to intentionally think about our journey — I need to do that more often.

    -I wouldn’t have known God as the Healer, if I hadn’t seen Him heal my mom’s back and our son’s back.

    -I wouldn’t have trusted God’s provision if we hadn’t lived on a shoestring for so so long.

    -I hadn’t really experienced (internalized) God’s grace until a time of trial in our marriage in 2000.

  2. Jana Howerton permalink
    November 11, 2008 4:22 pm

    I used to hate the thought of pain and going through difficult spots in life, because well, because they’re just that, difficult. However, in the past several years, God has perfectly placed some difficult trials into my life to teach me how to trust Him above all else, to love Him more than I love or cherish anything else on this earth, to learn that His sovereign plan for my life is better than my own plan, to know how much grace He has given me, so I am able to extend that grace to others. God has made everything beautiful in its time, and that includes my sinful heart. With each and every trial I have gone through, God has taught me many new things about who He is, and he uses those times to sanctify me to make me more like His Son Jesus because He must become greater and I must become less. Our Father is so good, and He can miraculously work all things out for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes!

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