I am still meditating on the book of James -sllllooooowwwwlllly:) And this is what I saw yesterday: in James 1:12, it says "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." In the first part of the sentence, it talks about someone who perseveres through difficulty. In the last half, it says the Lord waits at the finish line, so to speak, encouraging us on and holding out a crown to those who have persevered...
Actually, that's not what it says. Instead, it says He holds out a crown to those who love Him.
So it seems to me that loving Him and persevering are connnected. I tried to picture how that would look in my mind and I came up with two earthly examples, people who have persevered through difficulty out of love for an earthly family member as well as for Him.
The first example I thought of was a family I don't really know at all-the Morton family. For almost a year and a half, their baby has gone through a ton of medical things. In fact, Glory has spent most of her young life in the hospital. She was born with multiple medical issues and it is a miracle that she has lived as long as she has. On Glory's FB page, Fight like a Glory Girl, I noticed that the mom wrote once that during all these months when the hospital was her world and the seasons came and went without being really noticed, that she wondered how they had been able to do it. But at other times, she just gave thanks for all those days with Glory. Persevering through the seasons for the love of a little girl.
Also, it's my understanding that they knew Glory would be born with medical problems so they chose the name Glory so that God would receive... yes...glory from her young life. And He has, most definitely.
The other family that I thought of was the Sullivan family - Brad, Jill, Hannah, and Bethany. Hannah moved to Heaven a while back. If you don't know her story, you can check it out on the Sullivan Four Blog. Basically, Hannah prayed that God would allow her to glorify Him through a storm. As a high school student, she was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor and a year later she graduated to Heaven, never making it to college here on earth.
Like Glory's family, Hannah's family walked the road of hospitals and medical procedures with her, supporting her and her desire to glorify God. Since Hannah's home going, the family continues to glorify God by sharing Hannah's story and by ministering to multiple other families who have children who are very ill or who have lost children.
As I thought about these examples, James 1:12 came to mind in living color - Blessed is he who perseveres under trial, for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
I know it's not easy for these families - and others like them - to persevere under trial. But somehow, they've found the key to doing so - and that key seems to be love. Love for their family members. Love for the family of God. And love for Jesus Himself, who waits at the finish line with a crown of life for all of them, with a Father standing behind Him, one who knows what it is like to give up a deeply loved child.
It may not be much comfort now, at the holiday season when I'm sure the Morton's are grieving the fact that Glory is not getting better and I'm sure the Sullivan's miss Hannah tremendously. But there is a "well done" waiting down the line for them - no question. And when they hear it, they will be standing with all their children, all of whom will be healthy and whole.