Let’s face it, nobody really likes trials. Nobody will raise their hand in the classroom to join the “trial group." Why? You know the answer! It’s hard, it’s tiring, it’s confusing, and most of the time it is long! We would rather have it easy. We’d rather want God to just put growth in our hearts within minutes.
Perseverance is not learned that way. Growth is usually acquired during the wear and tear of this life. It is by going through the valleys and the rough storms. It is pushing through the headaches, the tears at night, the feelings of loneliness, and the 'words' without words. It is in those times, we truly learn where our help comes from. It comes from Him!
"I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth." Psalms 121:1-2
ME TOO GUYS!
I personally have experienced this over and over again, even at my young age. My life has many examples of the Lord's use of trials that led me discovering more of who He is. For me, it has most often come in the form of sickness. It has also come within dysfunctional relationships. I pleaded with God, I read my Bible more than I had ever before, I prayed more than I had before, I searched through books and sermons more than I had before! Who can we look to when all is taken away?
CHRIST IS OUR HOPE
Christ is the One we can turn to in confidence, knowing that He will take care of His sheep. We may hate the means. We may hate the wind that strikes against our cheeks, the water that seems to be an inch from covering our heads. However, it is then when we realize there is no other help but God! He slowly allows our faith, and perseverance to be made stronger.
We don't like the process, but when we look back we, always say thank you God for showing me who You are. In my testing times, It felt like the hardship and affliction were never going to end. I didn’t see any closing in sight, and all I felt where the uncomfortable effects of the winds and the storm. Yes, I must admit there were times where I wanted to give up.
In that season, I looked at myself and saw, in the most real way I had ever before, how weak I was... so little and fragile! What could I do in my own strength? I learned the answer was 'nothing.' I asked myself "Where is God?" I knew He was near, because of Scripture, "but how long? How long Lord?" I was able to say that with David.
"How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?" Psalm 13:1
A LESSON OF CLINGING TO CHRIST
It is quite scary and depressing to not know how long a hard situation will last. Still, even in this, He was teaching me what it means to cling to Christ in faith and not in what I could see. He was teaching me how to trust, even in the pain. Finally, I did quit… And it was the most helpful thing for me. I quit trying to fight the storm. I quit trying to make myself better. I quit questioning how long.
I just took my eyes off of all of the messiness, and chaos. He helped me place my attention on Christ. I felt peace there- a peace that passes understanding. I learned that it doesn’t matter what storms I was passing through, Christ was always there. He never left. Even when I couldn't hear or see Him, the promise was still true. He will never forsake His children.
"for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF THE BATTLE
When you are going through the hardest battles you feel like you have ever gone through, take your eyes off of the battle and fix them on the king, Captain, and Victor! Rest, knowing He is your Protector. He knows how long you need to be in these afflictions, He knows how long it will take for you to learn the lessons He is teaching you about yourself and about Himself.
He is doing a beautiful thing, even when He seems to be stripping away all you have. We don’t like being stripped, we don’t like being left with our weaknesses. But oh, sister in Christ, how do you expect to give your all to Christ if you are so full of other things?
MY JOURNEY THUS FAR
I certainly don’t say this because I heard it from a book or a sermon… Though I have heard it many times that way. I am currently having to do the same as I’m writing this right now! I am having to wait on God, and I don’t know how long this particular season will last. I have asked those questions of God, “Lord, what are you doing? Why?" What I know is that He is good, therefore all is well with my soul! Yes, easily written and easily said than believed or accepted within our hearts. Yet, still true!
We have a merciful Father. We have a gracious Father, and He will help us. God will give us all we need, even if that means helping us believe all that you just read is true! "Lord, I believe help my unbelief!" I personally say this with this man in Scripture (Mark 9:24). We are all walking this narrow road. This road has many twists and turns. This road has periods of sunshine, beautiful sunsets, and roses, along with dark nights with scary sounds.
HE WALKS WITH US
Yet, He walks right beside us. Whether He is speaking or silent, He walks right beside us! I hope you would be encouraged of the reminder that your trials are good for you. You never go through them alone. I pray you would see all things working together for your good and for His glory. May your heart be made glad, when you remember He is making a better version of you in this season. He is making you more like Christ. Let’s walk in faith as our Shepherd leads us well.
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