“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Hello, friends! As I mentioned in my last post, the Lord is doing some deep work in me these days, but I’m still not ready to detail it. I am in the midst of trials and tribulation on many fronts. It makes me think of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. He is teaching me things through trials that I can’t learn while on the mountain top.
In my spiritual immaturity, I used to ask the Lord, “Why me, God?” when trials would hit my life. Friends would point me to verses in the Bible that talked about rejoicing that trials had come. What??? That made no sense to me. I especially disliked the often-quoted Romans 5:3-5: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame… I’m pretty pain-averse, and I just wasn’t sure that hope was worth all the suffering that it apparently took to get it.
I also couldn’t reconcile why I was facing trials when Jeremiah 29:11 promises that His plan is “to prosper you, not to harm you”. The trials were causing me pain and anxiety and I did not understand how that was going to prosper me and not harm me. It sure felt a lot like harm and a lot less like prospering. I just kind of gritted my teeth until I got through it. I didn’t grow a lot during those times, I’m sure.
I guess I must have grown some, at least, since those days, because now I don’t spend nearly as much time saying, “Why me, God?” and whining to Him about my circumstances. Now I’m more apt to ask Him, “What do you want me to learn through this, God? How is this shaping me to look more like You?” I certainly don’t do this perfectly, but I’m growing in it. He’s definitely teaching me to keep my eyes on Him in the midst of the storm. (Read more about that in this post.)
I had a light bulb moment when I recently read over this passage in 1 Peter:
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Wow, did that ever strike me. The trials have come so that my faith can be proven to be genuine. Not only that, but it will result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. That’s amazing!
Yes, I’m going through a very difficult time right now, and I can’t yet say that I’m fully rejoicing in those trials. However, I have His peace and I have His hope to get me through it. I know that He is bringing some Isaiah 61:3 beauty from things that look like ashes right now, and I look forward to seeing it.
How about you? Are you facing a trial or a storm in your life? One of my spiritual gifts is that of intercession, or prayer, and I would deeply cherish the opportunity to pray for you. Just comment below with as much or as little detail as you would like, and I will lift you up as you go through it. May all the glory and praise and honor go to our Lord Jesus Christ!