… 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. —1 Peter 1:6b-7
Written November 11, 2019:
I’m typing this particular Musing in the waiting room at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. My beloved daddy is here. Today is his 86th birthday. He and my mother have been married since 1955 and love each other deeply. His precious heart needs a new valve and four bypasses, but surgery is presently on hold while doctors wait, allowing his body to grow a bit stronger for this daunting open-heart procedure. The whole thing is hard.
Two months ago, my dad was bicycling, jogging, and taking long walks with my mum without a care in the world. He always plants a large garden, and he enjoyed that, as usual, this summer. He even pushed his great-grandchildren around in a wheelbarrow this past July. And now this. I watch them bravely smile at each other and hold hands and act cheerful. And I know underneath is the shattering fear that their beautiful marriage partnership might never be the same again because of all the problems with my Dad’s heart. Tears well up in my eyes as I reflect on the beauty of their love and the sadness of this time. This is a burden we have to bear, my family and me. We can’t avoid it. It’s painful. And it hurts.
We all have them. Burdens. Trials. Those hardships we don’t want. What are you going through? Is it a family relationship that stings and aches? An illness you surely didn’t ask for or want? A body that is a bit outside the normal range in some way? Poverty? Shyness? Anxiety? The list is endless, isn’t it? None of us gets to sort of float through life willing everything to go our way and blithely enjoying it without any mess or trouble. That’s not the way life works on a fallen planet.
So. The question is not, do you have a struggle or a hardship, but what do you do when you are in a hard place? Do you storm against your trial and do your best to walk away from it? Or do you receive it as from the Lord, allowed for His good purposes? In the verse above we see that God uses the trials of everyday life to hone our faith and to reveal His faithfulness that transcends our losses. God’s Word gives us perspective on the hard times we walk through. Let’s look at a few reminders to help us out when we are in the midst of a trial or burden:
- He is with us. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18 NIV).
- He is in control. “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 NIV).
- He has a plan. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV).
- He teaches us compassion. “Praise be to … the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV).
We can trust Him even when we carry a heavy load. Instead of letting a hard thing derail us, rendering us useless in His kingdom, we can look to see how this trial can be used for good instead of evil. And that changes everything. Are you sick and in the hospital? Look around. Who needs a smile in that hard place? How can you bring encouragement to overworked nurses? Is there someone there who needs to hear the gospel? Is your issue relational? You can thank God for the lessons learned in unconditional love or in the patience He gives you for the oddities of others. Have you suffered severe trauma? Trust that God will enable you to comfort others with the comfort He gives you.
The key is to trust Jesus with it. To remember that the very thing that has tortured us can be used to bring new life and hope to others. I’m going to do my best to follow Jesus today, in this hospital, ministering to my hurting parents. I want to follow where Jesus leads through this maze of medical jargon and procedures, because I know that He is with me, that He brings joy even in the hard times, that He is trustworthy, and that victory is waiting on the other side of pain.
Dear Father God, as I type this in January 2020, on the other side of my daddy’s surgery, how I thank You for its success. You brought us through that hard time, and it is such a joy to see my parents playing Scrabble again and enjoying each other’s company. Help us in every trial to look to You. Remind us that You are with us in the midst and you allow hard things for good reasons. We love You, Lord. We love You when life is easy, and we love You when life is hard. Where would we be without Your dear Presence? Thank You for caring for us always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)
If you’ve been blessed, keep the blessing going!
Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.
Share it. Pin it.