Let Endurance Have Its Full Effect

I haven’t written here for a long time. Life has gotten in the way. Frankly, I’ve felt overwhelmed with struggle. Divorce, single parenting, breast cancer, diabetes, juvenile arthritis, 4 surgeries, numerous other medical procedures, etc. Life has financially funneled me down to taking a full time job teaching math at our local community college. It’s not ideal for a single parent, but it is a blessing in many ways. And then, one week before I was to start my first full time job in eighteen years, I tore my retina in my left eye.

Thankfully, the retina didn’t totally detach. However, it did leave me temporarily blind in my left eye as I started my new job and finished a second round of edits on a manuscript. The only restriction given me by my doctor? Don’t read.

I still chuckle at the irony.

Two weeks after the tear, I began to regain some vision in my left eye. I remember the moment, crying out to God for help, when the words on the TV cleared up for the first time, and I could finally make out what was happening on the screen. It seemed a clear miracle after seeing virtually nothing out of the eye for two weeks. Yet, a bloody haze still clouds my vision as yet another week has passed. I have walked the loop around my farmhouse crying out to God.

“Why another struggle on top of all of my other ones, Lord? Make it stop now!”

As I walked, the Spirit strongly convicted me that I needed to, yes, read the Word. I was sneaking reading in on my cell phone anyway. I needed to read the Scriptures even more so. I desperately needed God’s help through His Word. So I broke open a book in the New Testament that I picked because it had the least amount of highlighting in my new Bible. It was James.

I had forgotten how James began, but if you’ve read it lately, you know. It opens with a message about trials and maturity, and the Spirit spoke clearly to me through it.

2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

LET ENDURANCE HAVE ITS FULL EFFECT.

The Spirit spoke loud and clear to me, and this phrase has echoed in my head ever since. I want this trial over. I want to see clearly. I want to see my computer at work which is integral to my job. I want to see clearly to finish editing my book. I want to see clearly to take care of my children, clean my house, and pay my bills. It makes sense that I kick and scream wanting this particular physical struggle over right now.

But God whispers to me to let this trial do what its going to do in my life. Don’t rush it. Endure it. And let the full effects of enduring manifest themselves in my life. Let endurance have its full effect.

effect: A change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

en.oxforddictionaries.com

Managing the day in and day out compensations I must make to fulfill my obligations while my vision is compromised will have some effect in my life. It will cause a change. My divorce has. My cancer has. My diabetes and arthritis have as well. The implication in James is this change is for my good, and it is worth the journey so that the full benefit of these changes manifests in my life. The expectation of very real (and good) effects is why we can count it all JOY. Note, it isn’t that we feel joy. Counting it joy is a mental discipline, not a feeling. The expectation of beneficial effects enables us to put our trials in the JOY column when they seem only misery. This exercise gives us hope.

I know the sum of my struggles has brought real change for good in my life. One of the primary changes is that I’m a more patient parent. I’m also a more patient teacher. I’m a more patient daughter, sister, and friend. And friends, patience is a very good thing in life. Patience benefits me as much as it benefits those with whom I interact.

I don’t know what trials you are facing, but I encourage you that, submitted to God, they can bring a change in your life that is good. That blesses you and your loved ones. So, with the Scriptures, I encourage that as you work wisely for their end, you also, as you endure them, let the time of enduring have its full effect in your life. Look for the effect. Wait for the effect. Believe that there is a purpose that will bless you. That’s when joy can start to infiltrate something that has previously only been frustrating or full of grief.

Let endurance have its full effect. James 1:4

22 Responses to Let Endurance Have Its Full Effect

  1. Jennifer January 26, 2019 at 7:35 am #

    Thank you for this. In our family it seems to be financial challenges that just don’t go away. We sometimes get a small breath of air and then it seems to be right back to the challenges.
    I appreciate your perspective and that you are sharing it.
    I have always loved your blog.

    • Wendy January 26, 2019 at 7:55 am #

      Thank you, Jennifer!

  2. Angela January 26, 2019 at 8:13 am #

    Glad or see a post from you, Wendy, and what an important message! For me it is also health issues, and I’m facing more with a biopsy on Monday. I will count it all joy! I love that you reminded us that it’s not a feeling, it’s a reckoning because we trust God and his word that all things work for our good.
    Praying that your eye continues to heal.

    • Wendy January 26, 2019 at 9:09 am #

      Biopsies are scary things. I trust you will feel God holding your hand tightly.

  3. Belinda January 26, 2019 at 8:56 pm #

    Wendy, thank you for such down to earth, practical, honest sharing. I appreciate your candor and wisdom. Your admonishment is well heeded and I will with more effort in my trials, “Look for the effect. Wait for the effect. Believe that there is a purpose that will bless you.” Thanks again, sis!

    • Wendy January 26, 2019 at 9:03 pm #

      You’re very welcome! Hope to see you again soon.

  4. Barb January 26, 2019 at 10:18 pm #

    I enjoy reading your work. I’m looking forward to reading your next book! I enjoy seeing God work, though I wish for you that He would accomplish the same without the severity you’ve had to endure. I had a similar year, though not to the same extent as you. http://brab.blogspot.com/2018/12/word-of-year-2018.html?m=1

    • Wendy January 27, 2019 at 10:19 am #

      Thank you, Barb!

    • Wendy January 30, 2019 at 1:02 pm #

      Wow, Barb. Finally got to read your article. That was a lot!

  5. Cara Wieneke January 27, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

    I live pretty far away and am in absolutely no position to be of any practical use to you 🙂 So I will pray for you during this time. I love reading your blog and look forward to reading more from you. Your sister in Christ, Cara

    • Wendy January 30, 2019 at 10:01 pm #

      Thank you, Cara. Those prayers mean a lot!

  6. Barbara bunche portlock January 28, 2019 at 4:16 pm #

    Sister Wendy

    Even through your own struggles, you’re still encouraging others. Thank you for your uplifting blog.

    Thank you for bringing back to my remembrance Scripture, James 1:4
    May The Lord God bless you , with this Outreach

    May God Heal your eye and make you Whole.

    Barbara

    • Wendy January 30, 2019 at 10:00 pm #

      Thank you, Barbara!

  7. Curious Thinker January 28, 2019 at 9:50 pm #

    That was a great article. I will pray for you and your recovering. Good luck and God Bless.

    • Wendy January 30, 2019 at 10:00 pm #

      Thank you!!

  8. Maureen Kopper January 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm #

    Praying for a full recovery, Wendy! My husband has multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells) no cure but we are trusting God. He is doing quite well after stem cell transplant.

    Thank you for your blog and your books that are so encouraging to me!

    Maureen

    • Wendy January 30, 2019 at 10:00 pm #

      Maureen, I’m so glad for the reprieve you’ve been given. I pray right now that the Lord opens your eyes and encourages your heart with the good effects of this trial.

  9. Helane February 7, 2019 at 5:55 am #

    Hi Wendy, I liked your post above. I’m sorry all those things are happening to you, but prayerful that your endurance will have its full effect! I wanted to let you know I just finished “Is the bible good for women.” You’ve showed me things in God’s word I never saw there before, and helped me to trust God even reading the uncomfortable parts of scripture. Please keep writing!

    Funny story- when your book came in the mail my 9yo son saw the cover and went “Pfft, yes!”

    Sincerely,
    Helane

    • Wendy February 8, 2019 at 10:10 pm #

      Helane, thank you for that encouraging reply. That means a lot!

  10. Kristi February 8, 2019 at 7:10 pm #

    Hi Wendy, Wow, I am so grateful to have found your site. I doing some biblical research on redemption because I too have been divorced – not of my own choosing. I find your posts to be wise, true, balanced, and so refreshing. Blessings to you.

    • Wendy February 8, 2019 at 10:10 pm #

      Welcome to the blog, Kristi. Thanks for your encouraging comment.

  11. Lori February 19, 2019 at 4:11 am #

    I found your blog listed on Tim Challies blog and I am so glad I did! You have been through a lot. I hope you are doing better. It seems everywhere I go I run into that word “Endurance.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I am struggling to with things that kind of wear me down due to how long they have gone on. Your post encouraged me.
    Thank you.