I’ve been in Scotland for almost two weeks now which is long enough to be comfortable telling people “Heya” when greeting them and “Cheers” when leaving a shop, and calling a store a shop. I’m still not used to bins (garbage cans), toilets (bathrooms), boots (trunks of cars), having to flip an electrical switch to turn on the shower, the lack of ice in this country, or how strange the money is. Could we please dispense with the pound coin and turn it into a paper note? Or at least make them lighter?
In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve fallen in love with the countryside. I’m in the western highlands which is surrounded by mountains and lush green landscaping, like nothing I’ve ever seen. I’m amazed every single day at the majesty of God’s creation around me. Just when I think I’ve seen all there is to see, we come around a bend in the road and I am once again in awe of just how beautiful God’s creation is.
What I’m not in love with is the Scottish rain. It has literally rained every day I’ve been here, sometimes intermittent but sometimes for full days. On the particularly dreary days, the Scottish say it’s a “dreek” day. Regardless of the amount of rain, you just put on your rain jacket and rain boots and go get stuff done. If you allowed the rain to get in the way of your daily activities, you’d never get anything done. All the rain is the price you pay for such a luxurious setting as I’ve seen here. Because of the makeup of the soil, it takes a ton of rain to keep the greenery alive.
And so it is when we encounter trials. The rain (trials) in our lives leave us soggy, chilled to the bone, and feeling just miserable. We wake up every day, hoping for a glimpse of sun and when it doesn’t come, all we want to do is hide and wait it out. We sometimes feel like we’re being punished. What we forget in the midst of everything is that the trials allow God to make our roots grow stronger, and make our lives more fertile.
In the parable of the soils (Luke 8:4-15), the seed that fell on the rocky soil, produced plants, but they quickly withered because there was no root. When there’s no root, the smallest storm will blow you over. It wasn’t until after my husband died that I fully realized the meaning of James 1:2-4.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I know that when trials come my way, I’m getting stronger. And when I get stronger through trials, I get closer with God. And that’s where the joy comes in.
Look at the current trials you’re enduring and also ones you’ve come through. How have these trials changed your relationship with God?