She leaves work and goes to a little room with breathing machines, a few pictures of how life once was, and a frail lady – a lady who glares some days and smiles some days. It’s hard for her to hang on to Hope – especially while she’s hanging on to a walker and nebulizer and tissues.
The younger one always visits. But sometimes she has to walk out when those dark eyes flash – the eyes of the one who has seen over 80 years of pain and joy. Then she always comes back. Always.
James 1 says, “Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
And I keep asking God – why is steadfastness that important? Can’t anything beautiful be achieved in short bursts of energy or impulses? Because, well, let’s be honest. Steadfastness better be that necessary, because trials aren’t that easy. I hope it’s worth it.
Like, sometimes it’s not easy to see your loved one treading close to eternity. It’d be easier to stay away and let the nice aids and nurses do their jobs. But, she keeps going back.
And, as I watch this picture – the one of the faithful visiting the frail for months into years – I see something beautiful: Steadfastness welcomes trust, and Steadfastness lays the foundation for a heart to receive God’s love. Steadfastness bears witness of God’s love – a love that won’t wear out or run dry. A love that stays strong, sacrifices all, and reaches out far.
There is a quality about steadfastness that defies humanity and reflects the Divine.
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! Psalm 36:5
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:5
Maybe that’s why we need this steadfastness. Maybe it’s because there is no way we could understand God’s love or understand God at all apart from His steadfastness.
Maybe we humans, who long to turn in our keys and move on, would just bounce through life from one empty well to another if we didn’t come to value Steadfastness.
We’d keep giving up, giving in, and giving out. We’d keep burning bridges and slamming doors – if He didn’t mold us though trials to reflect His ever-constant, life-giving, grace-sharing Steadfastness.
How in the world else can we ever love people?
How could we love our neighbor without this?
Because God has nothing to do with a come and go, touch base and move on kind of love.
His love is steadfast.
Then, if we not yet convinced, later on in James 1:12, it says “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
And so, as much as we’d prefer an alternate route, the summary is this:
Trials make us steadfast.
Steadfast shows up looking a whole lot like God Himself.
And someday, Steadfast is crowned with Life.