by Carol McCracken
Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. James 1: 2 NIV
Her wedding dress, which had begun at thirty pounds, now weighed at least fifty.
A tropical storm was making landfall soon, and the rain bands had toyed with the venue all day. As her wedding planner, I knew chances of the planned outdoor ceremony were slim. But God had just given us a forty-five minute rain-free window. The surface under the decorated arch where the bride and groom stood was wet with residue, which the bride’s gown had absorbed. Unfazed, she grabbed her groom’s hand and recessed victoriously down the aisle.
I’ve seen many weddings with challenges, but this one was an extreme. The ironic thing was the bride and groom met when a tropical storm canceled a concert they had separately planned to attend. They met when pouring out their sorrows about that with mutual friends. Without a tropical storm to start things, they never would have crossed paths. And now here was another.
In the last months of planning, a global pandemic paralyzed the economy. Multiple crises occurred, one after the other. Carefully made plans were repeatedly derailed. She had shed many a tear, but with the quiet support of her groom, she always rallied.
As the world seemed to settle, it was decided to move forward with the wedding. But the bride called me in tears yet again when half the groomsmen’s suits didn’t arrive. The resulting customer service was abysmal, and the bride seemed ready to jump off the proverbial ledge.
Now a tropical storm loomed in the Gulf. The venue staff graciously offered to postpone the wedding. She turned the offer down, saying she was going down the aisle with her fiancé no matter what. Now, with all those trials and troubles behind her, the bride waved her bridal bouquet in triumph. She had just married her love and wanted the world to know it.
We will all none-too fondly will remember 2020, because we faced trials of all kinds, forcing us all to navigate uncharted territory. Not that we should be surprised at hardship: take a look at what James wrote at the top of this page. Notice, he didn’t say if, but when trials come. God tests our faith. This is not for His benefit; He already knows what is in our hearts. I think He does it to help us see where our faith really lies.
Some of us got mean. Some of us gave up. Some of us searched for answers in the wrong places. Our bride felt forces were against her as she tried to plan her special day. But amid the challenges, when the going got tough, she refused to postpone the wedding because she loved her groom and wanted to walk down that aisle in front of God and everyone. She stood before God in faith and thanked Him.
Are we as steadfast when difficulties appear or plans are canceled or postponed? Are we trusting in the circumstances we see around us rather than in a faithful God who holds all matters in His hands? God may be using the difficulties you are experiencing to help you see where you have placed your faith.
God loves us and wants us to face the tests by turning to Him in trust. He will reward the faithful in the end.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NASB
About the author: Carol McCracken has been a Bible teacher for over twenty years. She has been on church staff in Leadership Development and Women’s ministry for over 30. Her passion is to make the Bible come alive for women and connect it to a real relationship with Jesus Christ in today’s busy and demanding world. She is an AWSA Protégé and Destin Word Weavers member.
Carol is a contributor to ChristianDevotions.us, Arise Daily, and Mustard Seed Ministries. She is currently working with an editor on another Women’s Bible study.
Join the conversation: What has God revealed to you through the trial of the Covid crisis?