January 18, 2020

Perspectives On Trials by Sheila Webster

This church has been one of my favourites to photograph over the last two decades. I fell in love with it because of the architecture, position in the city, and the way the light plays with it throughout the day. 

James 1:2-5NASBConsider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various [a]trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces [b]endurance. And let [c]endurance have it's perfect [d]result, so that you may be [e]perfect and complete, lacking in Nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and [h]without reproach, and it will be given to him.

A key to thriving in these circumstances is to ask for wisdom.  Wisdom is not the cliches and cookie cutter answers that are readily available but a deep resonance to the purpose of the trial or circumstance from the Author and finisher of our faith. This does not mean we will know the purpose intimately or at all; wisdom creates a resonance to truth in the circumstance and opens us to the wideness and wildness of God’s overarching story.

As with the church I love to photograph, I can see it, touch it, discuss it, move in, around and through it, but I don’t know it.  I know basically 
why  it exists - I can find the name of the architect, when it was built, the reason one tower is shorter and a multitude of other facts. 

I do not know, however, how it resonates with God’s larger purposes. It may be a place of worship, or just a lovely building, but that is not the whole, or often even real story. I cannot know how many burdens were cast at the altar inside or even on the steps in front. I cannot find the hidden soul records of inner transformation, nor the fountains of forgiveness freely flowing from those so transformed. I do not see the struggling saint or sinner sing in glorious release of inner burdens as the light plays on the stained glass at sunrise or set. I am not privy to the answers to prayers prayed over the decades of its use.

The same with our trials. We may see them, feel them, walk around them, stumble over them and even ignore them or question, "Why me?" But we do not see them from the perspective of wisdom's walk through them. We must understand the mystery of our trials and how the wisdom granted our feeble selves transforms those who witness our perseverance, our victories, our faithfulness and even our relationships with our fallings.

As you journey through 2020, ask for wisdom in valleys and peaks; for a different perspective. 
We encounter so many things as we journey through life that we have no clue how to handle or even why we must handle them. Depending on the circumstances or trial our responses can vary from deep shame in a dark valley to unbridled elation of a scaled peak that seemed impossible in the beginning.


  1. Lovely and thoughtful. It's great to have you on the roster, sheila! is this the anglican Cathedral in Moose jaw?

  2. St Andrews United Church in Moose Jaw across from Crescent Park

  3. Hi Sheila! I love this line, "A key to thriving in these circumstances is to ask for wisdom." The line and indeed the whole post resonate with me in a big way.Your words remind me of past agony and present gratitude. Wisdom in such times sure does not come from me. Another line sinks into my heart. "..wisdom creates a resonance to truth in the circumstance and opens us to the wideness and wildness of God’s overarching story." I experienced this " wideness and wildness" as God led my wife and I to a part of the faith we had never encountered. Blessings, my friend.

  4. I love this, Sheila!! The pictures are lovely too.

  5. What a beautiful way to prompt each of us to remember that as we walk through our individual trials, we can serve as models to others. Even our tears can serve others. Made me think back on all the physical places of worship that have held me as I cried. In fact as I write that I wonder how tracing the path of those places could inspire some writing!

  6. Sheila, I admire the way you think and see life. I would never have come up with what you wrote. Which makes what your words so good for me. You added to my life. #grateful

  7. Thank you all for your comments ! Be blessed as you write with wisdom this year!

  8. So true about challenges, Sheila. What a trouble-filled year 2020 has been and it can only get worse. It's all the more reason to cling to God. Persecution grows stronger by the day. But we know that Christ will never leave us or forsake us.


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