"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
James 1:2-4, ESV
Trial as joy...now that's what I call self-actualized behavior. I see it in the persecuted church all over the world and it's not matyrdom. It's joy in trials. It's recognizing that those trials are a means for identifying with the suffering of Christ as well as a transforming experience for one's own spirit.
It seems like we should all-out ask for trials. But we don't. We love the comfortable status quo of the American Dream. It's a scary thing to pray for refining because we don't know what that could mean. We could lose all the things that we hoard in this life. We could lose people we love.
So here are my personal questions: do I love God enough to ask for trials? Can I willingly let go of any perceived control over my life to let God use me fully? Do I trust that He will? Am I afraid of a disappointing result or one that is so far beyond me that I'm doomed to fleshly failure?
Here is what I know: God is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. I am who He says I am.
My brain knows the answers to all those questions, but I'm praying for my heart and life to catch up.