“Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
James 1:12 AMP
|Joan of Arc cast in bronze, seated on a bench with her sword in her hands. Trees and garden foliage are blurred in background.|
Which saint said, purportedly,
If this is how You treat Your friends, no wonder You have so few?
If this is how You bless Your friends, Lord,
With trials and testings, hard-pressed to within an inch of life,
No wonder You have so few.
All one must do—so simple, really—is stay beneath the trial,
Not cry, “Uncle,” not tap out, not forfeit,
Just stay under the load, abide in the wrestle, not let go until He blesses.
Yet in the weight of distresses and difficulties,
When the furnace burns with sevenfold heat, there is no “just” about remaining.
Steadfastness takes supernatural strength when (almost) every cell cries out for relief.
Feats of Hercules bear no comparison with the courage required to stay under
Bone-crushing, breath-stealing, relentless load,
Knocked to knees, knocked to all fours, knocked prostrate in the dust,
Buried beneath the rubble of earthly hope
But not surrendering faith in God who raises the dead.
In the weary groaning of the waiting world,
We remember for each other, midwives of hope,
Reminding of promises that coming joy is worth the current pain,
For we know we cannot always remember for ourselves.
We spur one another on, crying out encouragement when
The thin veil parts enough to glimpse our Brother under the load alongside—
I see Him with you! I see Him in you!
His strength keeps from us one gram more suffering than needed
For our good and for His glory.
His Spirit in us intercedes—
Hold on—just one more moment—
And faith will be sight.
Stand firm to the end.
We need not burst across a finish line, break the tape.
Just stay. Stay in trust; stay under test.
The happy man keeps faith to final heartbeat,
Outlasting affliction in love for Him who outlasted death itself,
Who loved us first, loves us still, loves us through.
The crown of life will glow with bone-rejoicing, breath-stealing pearls
Produced by the rubble of our buried hopes.
He who loved us first will love us to the end,
Adorning those who love Him back with life and love eternal,
And the agony of decades will seem as heavy and prolonged as a single snowflake
Alongside the glory Christ has won for, with, and in us.
Blessed be Christ, the steadfast under trial,
Who completes His suffering by suffering in ours,
Who transforms our suffering by suffering with us,
Who sanctifies our suffering by His presence,
Who sustains our suffering with His promises.
How happy the person who stays beneath the load appointed
Because Christ abides there too.