How will I get through this? This excruciating, confusing, depleting, trial? I’ve just got to hang on!
Trials. You’re either in one, coming out of one, or going into one. But we mustn’t take it too personal. John 16:33a says, “In the world we will have tribulation.”
Four weeks ago my friend entered into one of the most mentally and emotionally exhausting trials of her life. It was work related, but also relational. Everything around her was crumbling. Finally, the trial came to an end and everything worked out. God answered…even better than we who circled around her had prayed. Awesome, right? So why didn’t God just answer her prayer the next day instead of taking her through this agonizing journey? Why did God allow this horrible suffering to linger on for four weeks?
The answers aren’t easy and every trial is different. But when God allows suffering and adversity in your life, there’s a reason…and it’s not with the intent toward evil.
I know this from my own personal experiences. I know that the gain is greater than the pain.
From the onset, my frightened and worried friend cried out to God for help. She solicited the prayers of her godly friends to pray for her. I was privileged and honored to be one of those friends. Like her, I wanted to know what the purpose for this mess was. I wanted to know what’s taking so long. I called on God to be her defender and a fair judge. With each day that passed, the prayers became more intense…more serious… more thankful… more trusting…. more dependent on God. We all knew it was only God who could fix this…change this.
As I prayed for her I reflected on one of longest and most serious trials I had been through almost a decade ago. I remembered God’s faithfulness to me that year and a half and it gave me encouragement as I prayed for my friend.
As the turn of events began to unfold, we began to see God’s fingerprints all over the situation. We saw God keep His word. We saw God defend His child. We finally saw how God had been working intricately behind the scenes to bring about His purpose. We witnessed God take what Satan had meant for evil…to devastate her… to hurt her…and to shake her foundation… and He made it good. Better. Perfect. More than we prayed for. We saw a better situation.
So why did it take four weeks? Why did mine take a year and a half? Because that’s how long it took to:
- be molded into the image of Christ…to be radically changed.
- experience God’s love and compassion so strongly that we are compelled to know Him more.
- humbly cry and run into the arms of God, which is the only place to run.
- trust our Father who cannot lie.
- feel His presence, rather than be distracted by other things.
- give God complete glory.
- realize His faithfulness.
- be totally dependent.
- experience joy in pain.
- be able to say, the gain is worth the pain.
STRONGER. BOLDER. MORE COURAGEOUS.
Rejoice in suffering because suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Now not only was the situation better, but we became stronger women while we learned more to trust and wait on God.
How we respond to our trials is important!
The Greek word for endurance is hupomonen, in the sense of “STAYING POWER that surpasses simple HANGING IN THERE. Work through difficulties with purpose and focus… which produces a deeper, stronger, more certain faith.” *
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
- Pray more.
- Read the Bible more.
- Reminder yourself daily that the gain is greater than the pain.
- Ask God, “What do you want me to learn?”
- Believe 2 Cor. 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. I can delight in weaknesses, insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
- Receive His grace.
- Look at your trials as an opportunity to grow with Christ. Your time- just you and Him.
- Believe that God is for you! Romans 8:31
Maybe you’re still in a trial. Or maybe, like me, your trial did not end the way you expected or prayed for. Remember that we only see a small piece of “our world” but God sees the whole picture. You be obedient and leave the consequences to Him. Do not just hang on. Expect the ultimate victory when you choose to stay strong.
Read the rest of John 16:33b. “But take courage! I have overcome the world.”
Debbie is co-founder of Shine! Ministries and a partner with The Polished Conference. She would love to come speak at your next women’s event. For more information visit her website: www.debbiepresnell.com or visit her page on facebook: shineministriesnc. Contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Women’s Evangelical Commentary- New Testament. Edited by Patterson and Kelly