Tag Archives: trial

Praising God for the Trials

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  Romans 5:3 (NLT)

I have not one, not two, but several major trials going on in my life simultaneously.  They have been going on for long periods of time and I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by them at times.  I do not say this in order to have a pity party for myself or to try to evoke your sympathy; it’s just the fact of my current circumstances.  While I am quite familiar with the above verse, I have never rejoiced at the onset of a trial, or in the middle of one.  I rejoice when they’re done.  Anybody with me on that?

This past weekend, I thought the opportunity would arise for a big turning point for the better in two of the trials that I face, so I cued up some trustworthy friends to be praying for that specifically throughout the weekend.  However, by the end of the weekend it was clear that these trials aren’t changing any time soon, much less going away.  I ended up baring my heart through tears to the Lord, letting Him know how much it hurt but asking Him for His perspective.  He finally asked me a question:  Will you believe I’m at work in these situations even when you don’t see any evidence of it?

His question coalesced with the other work He’s been doing in me.  Through various means, the Lord has recently been prompting me to examine the state of my faith.  I thought my faith was pretty strong; faith is actually one of my spiritual gifts.  However, the Lord pointed out to me that although I KNOW the truth of His word (I have it memorized), I don’t always BELIEVE His word (apply it to my own life).

Ouch!  He was right.  He showed me that while I have no problem believing that His word is true for other people, I have not believed that it’s true for me also.  I haven’t dared to hope that it could be true for me and that He would work in miraculous ways in my life as well as in the lives of those around me.

So here I was, at a crossroads.  I was faced with choosing to continue in my unbelief or to change paths and start to believe that His word is true for me as well as for you.  It felt like a big risk to believe that I could have the hope of all of His promises for myself.  However, the decision was an easy one – I chose to believe Him.  I repented for my unbelief and chose hope instead.  This was equivalent to a tectonic plate shifting in my heart.  Wow!

My first request of the Lord was for Him to give me joy in spite of my circumstances.  I cannot manufacture joy in my life even when things are going well, and I certainly couldn’t do it in the face of the trials.  It had to come from Him or not come at all.

It didn’t come immediately.  I had to push through a lot of garbage and lies from the enemy by continually affirming that I trusted Jesus and Jesus alone and affirming that His word is true for me.  I reminded the Lord of His promise to give us joy and of His Romans 5:3 promise that we can rejoice in the middle of trials.  It felt like re-programming my 54 year old heart to believe differently.  Soon, the joy came.

There is still no end in sight to my trials.  They might rage on for several more days, weeks, months or even years for all I know.  What I know is that my heart would not have been changed without the simultaneous onslaught of these trials.  I have learned not just to praise God IN my storms but to actually praise Him FOR the storms.  What a blessing!

Friends, if you find yourself facing problems and trials today, here are some things that will be crucial to navigating them with a soft heart towards God:

  1. Get people praying for you and with you in the middle of it.  Don’t just say, “I’m going through a hard time,” but let yourself be known!  I cannot overemphasize how important this is.  Doing life in community MATTERS.  Prayer MATTERS.
  2. BELIEVE God.  The word “believe” is a verb; it denotes action.  Put your trust in Jesus and Jesus alone.  Don’t tough it out and grit your teeth until you get through it – trust that He will bring you through and also that He has your very best in mind.
  3. Praise God.  Praising Him for Who He is takes your eyes off yourself and puts them squarely on Him, where they belong.  Ask Him to help you praise Him FOR the storm – He will do it!
  4. Ask God for everything that you need.  No, I don’t mean that you need your problem or trial to end.  I mean, do you need more joy while you’re in the storm?  More endurance?  More strength?  More wisdom?  Ask Him – He is eager to answer.

Let me know if I can be praying for you too.  Comment below or send me a private message if you prefer.  We can be on this journey together.  🙂

Trials and Tribulation

“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 4:8-9We 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 5:3-5Not 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:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 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!