When I was in Starkville last month, I was super frustrated about the duration of my trip- I wanted to come home every day of the second week I was there (as you know). The last Friday I was there, I was headed to work on the Blue Route. Ms. Hopkins and I were the only two folks on the shuttle, and I was telling her about the trip's discouragement. She told me, "you don't know why you've been here so long. God could be trying to strengthen you, help you grow, or keep you from harm." My mind immediately went to Mr. Bethea's lesson the week before...
James 1:2-6 says, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."
We discussed how, while no one particularly enjoys trials in and of themselves, we are to take joy in the fact that they should be causing us to grow in the fruit of the Spirit: "...love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Gal 5:22-23) The point was also made that when we ask God to help us be more patient or to have more wisdom or whatever, He doesn't give it to us miraculously. Instead, He gives us the opportunity to gain patience/wisdom/etc. by putting us in situations that force a response- we must either grow or shrink in the trait.
...two things that I struggle with constantly are anger and patience, and I was definitely tested in both of these aspects as my second week of fruit-less labor drug on. Instead of looking at my situation as an opportunity to grow in these areas, my response was more anger and impatience. The Bible shows us that sometimes anger (at putting tradition over the Word of God - Mark 3:5) and what some might call impatience (the demand of a response to the person of Christ) are appropriate. However, these attitudes could not be justified as being the correct ones to have in my situation.
As I thought about all this, I regretted my failure to grow in the Spirit through my "trial". I thanked God for Ms. Hopkins, and I prayed that the next time I am faced with difficulty that I will focus on how it can help me to be more like Christ instead of on how much I want it to be over.