How do you handle walking through trials? Lately, my family has been walking through some trials, and I wish I could say that I am some superhero of faith. However, the reality is that I just want this cup to pass.
I don't like trials and I would rather be on the other side, looking back. But unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you are looking at it, God wants to use these trials to shape my family and me.
One of the hardest things about trials is I don't know how they are going to play out. I don't get to choose the ending, or how long I get to go through them. I must lean on the character of God and trust who He is and that He will carry me through.
Trials are handpicked by God
One thing I realize, even as I write this, is that I love comfort. I want an easy life. But reading the Bible, I can find nowhere that God has promised any of us a comfortable easy life. This idea creates a short-term view of trials.
In the book of James, it tells all of us to have pure joy when we face all kinds of trials as they test our faith. For this reason, God uses trials to grow us in our faith, shaping us to become more like Jesus and leading us to a higher view of God.
If we never went through them, we would never grow and we would miss out on the many blessings the Lord wants to teach us through them. Instead, we need to learn to pray like Jesus did in the garden of Gethsemane in Matthew chapter 26, verse 39: "My father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."
Have you realized that trials usually reveal our sin?
They reveal idols that we cling to instead of God. What do you struggle with that comes out when you face a trial?
For me, I struggle with anxiety. I worry about my worry. I am the person who has self-diagnosed myself with Ebola more than once. I wish I was joking but I'm not. I realize that in these trials, my anxiety is exposed, and I need to address it. Yet the biggest problem is that I'm entertaining sin. I am dancing with it and making it comfortable with me.
Anxiety is not of the Lord, and it causes fear. No matter what trials we face, the Bible is clear that we are not to be anxious. The Lord wants to use our trials to help us to trust Him as we depend on Him so that we have hope and faith in Him. Therefore, we need to confess our sin, turn from it, and run into the arms of Christ.
Running to Christ includes meditating on passages such as Philippians chapter 4, verses 4-9, praying, thanking God, thinking about what is good and true, and not dwelling on the what ifs, but rather thinking about the one who created life and can sustain us.
The rainbow after the storm
During our storm, we need to call out to the Lord and know that He will faithfully walk us through the valley. We are never alone, and we have hope. Not a false hope that all our problems will be resolved in the way we want, or the person will be healed, or our marriage will be saved, or our wayward child will come to faith.
But a true hope. A hope that can be encouraged and grow, because the Lord we serve is the same today, as He was when He walked the Israelites through the desert for 40 years, when David's infant son was dying, when Paul was shipwrecked, when Stephen was being stoned to death, and as He will be in the tomorrow for whatever we will have to walk through.
He works it all out for his glory and our good
God was with all of them in their moment and He will graciously walk us through ours. We don't know what the end results will be, however we know the one who does. For this reason, we can find courage and comfort in verses such as Romans chapter 8, verse 28: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
As we walk through any trial, know that we aren't alone. God has picked this trial for us. Its purpose is to make us more like Christ and it may not be what we 'want.' My prayer is that when we look back at this moment, nothing but praises to God for the good work He has done in us will come from our mouths; how He walked us through that trial to prepare us for the next one.
And let it be that when the next trial comes, we would remember whose hand we hold as we go through that valley and how faithful He has always been. May these trials increase our understanding of who God is. We serve a mighty and good God who will never leave us nor abandon us through any trial we go through. Let God get all the glory.
© Press Service International