Have you experienced trials in life? Are you going through one right now?
If not, then thank God but get prepared; you will. There are 4 important things you need to know when going through trials.
The Bible is full of wonderful, uplifting, and encouraging words. Stories of people’s lives with beautiful lessons weaved through them like a tapestry.
We all love to read about how God forgives us of our sins and loves us when we don’t deserve it.
We love to read stories of how God intervenes and saves the day like a Mighty Warrior riding in on His white horse.
But what about when He doesn’t step in to solve our problems just in the nick of time?
What about those times of extreme heartbreak and pain, those unanswered prayers when we have spent hours on our knees and cried what seems like a million tears?
How do we respond? Do we turn our face to the heavens with arms raised high and vow to continue to trust His plan? Or do we become scared, angry, or anxious?
Honest moment – I’ve done it all! Yet, there have been times when I felt His peace even through the trial and was determined to trust His plan.
Then there were those moments when I cried and walked the floors and worried.
Needless to say, that did no good. The Bible clearly tells us we will have trials in life. It should not come as a surprise. How we prepare and how we respond is the key!
James 1:2-3 tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
Is there even a reason for this?
Seriously, is there a reason why a loving Father would allow us to go through trials in our lives? They are hard, and they hurt our hearts.
Trials in our lives cause us to have fear and anxiety then question God.
So the answer is simply yes.
God has a reason for allowing trials to come into our lives. But does that make us happy? Well, no.
Honestly, we would all love for our lives to be happy and run along smoothly with no problems.
Once, there was a girl named Sheila. She was beautiful, intelligent, popular, and had a great family. It seemed like she had everything. The perfect life.
She graduated high school in the top 10 of her class and went to a very reputable college. Again, Sheila adapted so quickly to college life. Besides, she was popular and had a ton of friends.
Her life was going along according to plan, just like it should.
She seemed to just float through life without a care in the world.
When other people would talk about their problems or struggles, she would listen attentively, have the look of true concern and understanding, and then tell them things would get better; they just needed to have faith in God.
Granted, that is the perfect plan. Have faith in God. Things will work out.
But when you are the friend whose life is falling apart and you are heartbroken and calling out to God, thinking you have faith and praying with everything you have, Sheila’s life and words of “encouragement” just make you feel worse.
Sheila went on to date a very handsome, smart, Christian guy at college. Everyone was so happy for them because, honestly, they were both great people, and you couldn’t help but be happy for them!
Several years later, Sheila’s life and faith were shaken to the core. Her loving husband and the wonderful father to her children had been unfaithful.
Sheila tried to smile and put up that front we all do, that life is good and no matter what, we are ok. But the truth is, Sheila was not good.
She was now the one falling apart, and she had no clue how to handle it.
From the outside, looking in Sheila’s life was a perfect breeze, a walk in the park full of flowers and rainbows.
The truth is we all have things in life that are hard. We all walk through the valley of disappointment at some time in our lives.
Others may not always know about it, but it happens. For example, I’ve been guilty of being jealous of other women at church.
Women whose husbands sat beside them every service and seemed to be loving, devoted husbands and fathers while I sat there alone with just my kids.
But I really don’t know what their lives are like at home. So I was shocked when I heard the news about Sheila’s marriage.
I talked to Sheila and listened as she told me what had happened. We talked about our faith and how God had worked in our lives.
My trials have not been easy or fun, but I have seen how God, in His infinite wisdom, has used my trials to help others.
How God uses our trials
I told you the story of Sheila. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion when I realized the weight of it all.
How God weaved those heartbreaks, growing pains, and times when I felt completely alone into the tapestry of my life.
He has used these trials to not only grow my faith in Him but also to help others.
God uses our trials to teach us lessons, grow our faith, and draw us closer to Him
We have two choices when trials come. First, we can learn the lesson and grow and become stronger from it.
Or we can wilt and feel sorry for ourselves and then live the rest of our lives wallowing in self-pity.
Yes, that may sound hard, but that’s how I was raised, and honestly, it seems to be true.
Think of all the things, both good and bad, that have happened in your life. What lessons did you learn? Did it make you a better person for having gone through it?
Or do you still feel like the victim, never able to move forward, stuck in the past mistakes and pain from yesterdays gone by?
That parent was really a terrible parent and never made you feel loved and wanted.
The boyfriend who told you everything you ever wanted to hear only used you and seemingly threw you away like trash.
The friend who lied to you and betrayed your trust.
The list goes on and on and on. We all have the “what ifs” and “if only.”
What would my life be like now if I had married someone else?
If only my mother/father had really loved me like they should have, then I could have a loving relationship with someone.
What can we learn from this?
Good can come from our trials
Romans 8:28 tells us, “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.”
Not some things, not a few things depending on the situation, but ALL things!
God is on His throne, sister! He hasn’t left; he hasn’t gone on vacation or taken a break. He is still very much in charge. Especially during the trials in our lives!
One more honest moment here. I am incredibly hard-headed at times and tend to think I know what is best.
I have been known on occasion to point out not only to others but even to God how my thoughts and plans are so completely wonderful it only makes sense to do things my way.
So over the years, I have probably, to some degree, either caused some of my trials to happen so that God could teach me a lesson or at the very least forced them to last longer than they had to.
Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Praise God! He always has a much better plan. We may never understand why things happen the way they do on this side of Heaven.
I can relate to Peter, who lost his temper and cut off the Roman guard’s ear. I can relate to Peter, whose faith was weak, and he denied God.
Remember in Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
I feel like, knowing me the way I do, when I get to Heaven I will have a lot of questions. 1 Corinthians 13:12 tells us, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.” KJV
Have you ever started a new exercise program? Maybe it was a New Year’s resolution to get in shape and lose those extra pounds, or you wanted to get stronger.
Was it easy? Probably not. You had to change the way you ate, and you had to work muscles that you hadn’t worked in a while. It was painful!
Our trials are like that. We have faith muscles that need to be worked out. It’s not always easy or fun, but there are great rewards when learning to trust God.
You see, even when we don’t see it, God has a plan. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
You may ask how trials can prosper us.
When we trust God with our lives and look to Him for the direction, He will use those trials to help us to grow and trust in Him even more. Finally, he draws us to Himself.
I can tell you from personal experience and promise you that God is with you no matter what you are going through.
God sees you, He loves you, and He knows you by name. God has a plan for your life, and He has a plan to use your trials for your good!
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