I met Trina close to ten years ago on a mission trip to Honduras. She has become a dear friend and a great teacher. We keep trying to hire her at Westbury Christian! Here are her thoughts.
My name is Trina Agee, and I have the privilege of “filling in” for Mr. Steve as he is away in Honduras. I have known “Mr. Steve” for quite some time, and I am honored and blessed to call him a brother in Christ. His servant heart and Christ-centered focus continues to amaze me to this day. He genuinely cares about people and wishes only for their success. Thank you, Mr. Steve, for allowing me to fill your shoes for a day – I appreciate it more than you know.
I remember it like it was yesterday – sitting in my room, history book wide open, and notes scattered across the floor. With the “big exam” looming over my head, I frantically studied my detailed notes with diligence. I had to ace this exam – my perfectionist mentality demanded it. The more I studied, the more frustrated I became. My stress level rose to unforeseen heights as I stared at the mess before me – I was slowly losing my will to prepare. I had read over my notes a hundred times, but none of the information seemed to stick. I sat there, in the middle of my room, and bawled like a baby – I just could not take it anymore.
My father entered the room to the tune of my heaving sobs; I stared at him through my tears and literally gave up – “I can’t do this anymore, Dad – I just can’t.”
He sat on the edge of my bed and completely embraced me. In that small gesture, I felt the love of my Father in heaven – I knew without a doubt that he understood my frustration. He proceeded to say the special words that have remained with me these many years – “You do your best, and let God do the rest.”
This concept blindsided me – I had no idea that this was coming. Within seconds of its presentation, it all made sense. I had done everything I possibly could to prepare myself for this exam – the key word in that statement being “I.” I realized that I was not in this process alone; I had done my part to prepare for the exam, and now it was God’s turn to take over – to let him “do His thing.” When I allowed him to do His part, I knew this situation would work out within His perfect will. Long story short – I aced the exam!
Those few words my father spoke to me on that fateful night still reverberate in my mind as I have grown older. James 1:2-6 echoes this very sentiment in its sound text:
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
I take a four-part approach to this verse as a true philosophy of the Christian life; my father, once again, gets the credit for this.
Count on having problems.
As humans on this earth, we can be guaranteed that problems will come. We face a ridiculous amount of strife and turmoil in this world with absolutely no way of avoiding it. God understands this concept all too well – Jesus dealt with his fair share of issues during his ministry. With this in mind, our efforts for avoidance will be in vain.
Know you are going to make it through.
Everyone has problems in life – that is a sure thing. As Christians, we have the “blessed assurance” that we will rise above the trials that we face. I Corinthians 10:13 gives us a great deal of hope:
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Even though we are tempted on every side, hard pressed and pushed around, we know that God is faithful – He never allows us to deal with more that we can handle. On top of that, He creates a way out for us – a plan of escape in times of crisis. God is faithful – He will never allow us to cower under our burdens.
Ask God to help you.
Prayer is one of the most powerful tools that Christians possess – it is our direct connection with our heavenly Father. He calls us to tell Him everything – every little facet of our lives, every little thing that is on our minds. He already knows the turmoil that infests our lives; all He wants us to do is ask. With this comes a realization of our human nature – we cannot live this life alone. The issues of life left in human hands always fail; we try too often to handle our problems in ways we see that are best. In the end, we find that “our way” does not work. Asking God for His wisdom, strength, and power shows our submission to His will and our complete trust in His judgment. God will provide us with His help – all we have to do is ask!
Let Him do His thing.
This facet, by far, is the hardest part of the process; it is easy to acknowledge problems and ask for God’s help, but allowing Him to take the reins is intimidating. There is no specific time frame attached to this – it could be a matter of days, matter of weeks, or even a matter of years before we receive an answer. Living in the instant gratification of the world, we would like for it to be done on “___ ST” – (your name here) Standard Time. Patience is a tough concept to fathom here; it wears thin when answers are not received. We know in the back of our minds that “GST” – God Standard Time – should ultimately prevail. This is where our faith is tested the most – do we trust God enough to handle our problems? Are we willing to wait on Him and His timing? When we allow God to take control, amazing things will happen – for those who wait.
As Christians, we have the tremendous responsibility of “lighting” this world with God’s love. We are a people set apart for a common purpose. Following this four-part process shows the world that we are different – we do not wallow in our trials and throw ourselves “pity parties.” We know that God will carry us through anything that happens in this life – we just have to allow Him to take control. We all face a great deal of heartache and pain here on Earth, but God is bigger than it all – He has the power to transform us through our pain, allowing us to emerge much stronger than before.
Count, know, ask, let – OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD!