Sincere Leigh: “Lord, I want to be more like You. Help me to be steadfast and faithful — a woman of integrity and character. Let me be a woman of great faith who can encourage others.
God: “Child, are you sure about this?”
Sincere Leigh: “Yes Lord! I can do all things with Your help, and I know it’s Your will for me to be more like You.”
God: “You sound pretty excited and confident in this request.”
Sincere Leigh: “Yes, I am! I know I’m praying in accordance with Your will, so I just know You will answer me!”
God: “Yes, my precious daughter. I am pleased with your request and I will grant your request. Prepare yourself for some visits by several friends over the next few days.
Sincere Leigh: “Friends? OK! Friends can be a great encouragement to me in my Christian walk! This will be great!”
Sincere Leigh gets up and gets her children ready for school. On the way there, the car breaks down. Later that day while the car is still in the shop, the school calls to tell her that one of her children has come down with the stomach flu. Since she’s without a car, she must call her husband at work. He’s unavailable, thanks to an urgent meeting. Now she has to try and find some merciful soul who will take her to pick up her sick child. After reaching four answering machines, she’s beginning to get frantic. Oh! What a day this has turned out to be!
Sincere Leigh was hoping for a good night’s sleep after the disastrous day on Monday. As soon as she drifts off to sleep, her youngest child vomits all over the bed. Yes, he’s come down with the flu as well! Instead of sleep, she is now washing bedding at midnight and giving a very sick child an unwanted bath.
She awakens, feeling exhausted, but knows that she still has one child who must attend school today. Since the other two are sick, she will be forced to send her child to the dreaded bus stop. Her daughter is adamant that she’s not riding the bus because the kids are always so mean. After putting her foot down, and getting quite cross with her daughter, Sincere Leigh’s current crisis comes to an end.
After changing the bed sheets for the two children who are no longer vomiting, Sincere Leigh gets them settled for a nap. She decides to take a nap herself. She dozes off, and the phone rings. It’s the prayer chain calling. She quickly takes care of that and realizes that she still has a little time to rest before the children will wake up. The phone rings again. It’s her daughter, calling from school. She forgot her gym shoes and she’s upset because they’re going to play her favorite game during gym class. “Please Mommy! Can’t you leave long enough to bring me my shoes?” Of course, Sincere Leigh couldn’t leave the other two children home alone to rescue her daughter, even as life-threatening as it seemed to the poor child.
Sincere Leigh’s last child came down with the flu at 2 AM. She starts the vicious cycle once again. She is exhausted by now, and she barely muddles her way through the morning routine as she tries to get one child off to school. Suddenly, she remembers that she is supposed to meet her friend for lunch today. She makes a quick call to cancel. Now all she wants to do is go back to bed, but she knows that she must start laundry.
Later, when Sincere Leigh goes to get the laundry out of the dryer, she discovers that it’s still wet, with no sign of having been heated at all by the dryer. At this, she throws up her hands, and begins to wail, “Why me, Lord? I didn’t need this right now! First the car repair, now the dryer needs fixed! I’ve had sick kids all week, and had to cancel my luncheon plans! Why can’t anything go right for me?” She cries some more, but doesn’t take the time to listen for the Lord to answer all of her ‘whys.’
Once the kids are resting peacefully, she decides to take a nap, only to remember that she hadn’t read her Bible all week. She thinks to herself, “I’m exhausted and I need some sleep. I have the women’s retreat this weekend. I’ll make up for it then.” Suddenly, the phone rings. Her husband has been unexpectedly called out town on business. He has to leave in two hours. Can she pack his bags and have them ready? “When will you be back?” she asks. He informs her that he will be gone until midday on Saturday. What!? What about the women’s retreat?
Sincere Leigh is really wiped out this morning. She is very short-tempered, leaving everyone walking on eggshells, and she’s having her very own pity party. She can’t have her parents watch the kids so she can go to the retreat because they are on vacation. She can’t take them to a friend’s house to stay because all of her friends are going to the retreat. She was really looking forward to this retreat, and now she can’t go. She is terribly depressed.
Sincere Leigh wakes up and decides that she going to do something special for herself after she drops the kids off at school. After all, it’s been a very rough week. She has to miss out on the retreat, so she owes it to herself to do something special. She finally decides that she will go out for breakfast at her favorite restaurant. After saying ‘goodbye’ to the children, she notices that she suddenly has a pounding headache and her stomach feels rather queasy. She opts out of treating herself to breakfast. She barely makes it in the door, and to the bathroom, before she starts vomiting. Yes, you guessed it — Sincere Leigh has the stomach flu.
After literally hanging over the toilet for about four straight hours, she feels like she is dying. She finally manages to crawl into bed and starts to fall asleep. When she reaches that ‘twilight stage,’ where she’s not completely asleep, yet not fully awake, she hears the Lord say, “How did you like the friends I sent you this week?” Angrily, she says, “What friends? No one came to see me. No one even called me.” With that, she starts to fall asleep. As she does, she keeps hearing “James 1:2” going through her mind. Even in her sleep, she dreams that her pastor is preaching from James 1:2.
When Sincere Leigh awakens, she gets her Bible and looks up James 1:2 and finds that it’s admonishing her not to resent trials. She thinks to herself, “Lord, this week has sure been a huge trial!” She finishes reading the verse and discovers that it says to welcome trials as friends. (Phillips)
WHAT? Friends? Suddenly, she blurts out, “Oh, I get it, Lord! When You told me to prepare for some friends, you were referring to trials! But I didn’t ask for trials! I asked for You to help be steadfast, faithful, full of integrity, character, faith, and encouragement.”
God replies, “Yes, child, you did. And now, let’s take a look at some more scriptures so that you will understand.”
Sincere Leigh begins to read I Peter 4:12-13 where it tells her that trials come so that her faith may go through a spiritual refining process. (The Message Bible) She discovers in Romans 5:3-4 that suffering produces perseverance and perseverance will produce character. She goes back to the first chapter in James. After reading verse three, she realizes that perseverance must finish its work in her so that she will be mature, faithful, steadfast, full of integrity, character, and full of faith and able to encourage others.
God speaks to her again: “Do you see it now? All of these trials are part of My plan and purpose for your life. Sincere Leigh, you sincerely prayed to become all of those things without realizing that to do so, it requires that I use trials to make you into that person. While your trials won’t be easy to endure, I will always be there with you, every step of the way. The end result will be a deeper, more intimate relationship with Me, and a heart full of joy for having grown so much during the trial.”
Sincere Leigh: “Wow Lord! I guess I’ve got a lot of growing up to do to become mature! Will you really be there with me through the whole process?”
God: “Always, child, always.”
Sincere Leigh had no idea what to expect when she prayed that bold prayer, but yet she did pray it sincerely. Sister, when you find yourself going through trial after trial, God is faithful, and He will also walk through it with you.
© 2005, Stacy R. Miller