Pastor Joe Miller IV
I know this is lengthy, but I pray it will challenge your perception of life.
It has been four years since my oldest daughter, Jesse, gave birth to her youngest daughter, Swayzee. But not without the trial of a lifetime. You see, she developed a condition called placenta percreta during the pregnancy. I won’t get into exactly what it is, but it was the worst case the doctors had encountered and the prognosis for her and the baby’s survival was grim.
On February 29, 2016, at 4 AM I was awakened by Jesse bleeding profusely, crying out, “Call 911! Call 911!” with her other children crying, standing over her. The look on her husband‘s face - I can’t describe, but by the grace of God, she survived the hemorrhage and made it to the hospital. For the next four weeks, Jesse was under constant supervision, hospitalized in case another episode would take place. I can’t describe in words the emotional and mental struggle; even recalling this is difficult. The excitement of a new granddaughter, simultaneously the never-ending thoughts of losing my firstborn, my best friend, my Jess. The fear, the sleepless nights, every scenario possible running through my mind continually day and night.
Finally, the day came, it only took minutes for Swayzee to be delivered. Six weeks early, but a healthy five pounder. And for the next 11 hours, over 15 liters of blood, 14 doctors and nurses working with every ounce of wisdom they had, and a waiting room filled with friends and family praying for the loving hand of God to touch her like only the Creator can. After what seemed like an eternity, the doctor came out and announced that Jess made it through the battle, but the war was not over. Since Swayzee’s birth, the last four years have been a struggle for Jesse. She developed MRSA in her lungs. There have been continuous side effects from all of her medications and another multitude of consequences resulting from the pregnancy which leads me to that three-letter, age-old question: “Why?”
Romans 5:1-2 says:
1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord
2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and
rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
We are saved by faith in Christ. We also have access to the grace of God through faith. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. It is easy to rejoice because of our relationship with Creator God, but then comes Romans 5:3-4:
3. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation
4. And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
“What? Glory in tribulations?” Yes! Glory means to recognize God and His grace and in this situation, our tribulations. Those trials that bring ‘pressure’ into our lives. Whether it is an opposing army, an unseen disease, pregnancy with seemingly no hope of survival - you fill in the blank. You see, it is our tribulations that trigger a spiritual growth process that you and those you will come in contact with down the road will benefit from and find hope in. And will ultimately reveal God’s gracefulness. Tribulations worketh or accomplish patience. Patience is developed only during the season of enduring pressure with a confident outcome, which creates an experience, a testimony of proof. "Been there." This is the foundation and purpose of the question, “Why this trial?”
You see, it is not through Disney cruises and hitting the lottery but through trials that we recognize the love and grace of God. Hopeless situations we sometimes can’t see past. When the tribulations come and we allow patience to work into experiencing God's grace personally, it gives hope to those around you from your own personal testimony of the trustworthiness of God to give hope.
I remember the conversation Jesse, Roger, and I had four years ago that the trial they go through today will be somebody’s hope tomorrow. So stay faithful. I never try to invite trials into my life, but when they happen - embrace the opportunity to give hope to others down the road, become more Christlike, and glorify God. Today’s trials, tomorrow’s hope.