Put to the test: a personal account
by Dr Bob Dellinger
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
Yesterday I wrote about Abraham’s test of faith. Today I’m going to digress from my usual topic and write about my own time of testing. It was a very literal trial, the kind you go through in court with lawyers, a judge, and a jury. I’m a doctor, and unfortunately even when they do their job correctly doctors are at significant risk of being sued for malpractice. The short explanation is that sick patients sometimes have bad outcomes, even death, and bad outcomes can result in lawsuits.
The details of the case are not important. What affected me most was waiting to go to court. Six and a half years passed between the time I was notified of the suit and the day when I finally appeared in court. The suit was actually dropped for a whole year during that time, only to be taken back up again.
As one who believes in God, I looked at this situation and trusted that God would take care of me in spite of it and that I would be OK. I didn’t have any assurance that the case would be settled in my favor, however. Most of all, I didn’t have any joy in my heart. But that is what God taught me during my time of waiting: that I could not only endure it but be joyful in the midst of it. The reason? God’s promise in James that he would use this time to make me complete and perfect.
The three weeks in court were much harder than I expected. I experienced a lot of anxiety despite my faith, but my faith grew as a result of the trial. I never knew, during my six years of waiting, how to pray confidently for a not guilty verdict. By the time the trial was drawing near its end I did pray with faith that God would deliver me, and he did.
I’m not saying that I’m now perfect because of my trial, but it did change me for the better and greatly grew my faith. I now understand fully that I can rejoice in my tests and trials because God will use them to make me a more complete person and one who can patiently endure. I hope you will learn, during your times of testing, to not only endure but also rejoice.