Martin Luther’s wife once said that if she had never experienced afflictions she “would never have known the meaning of various psalms, come to appreciate certain difficulties, or known the inner workings of the soul; I would never have understood the practice of the Christian life and work.”
Perhaps that is why James reminds us to count it all joy when we encounter various trials.
But it sure isn’t fun walking through the valley feeling lost, scared and all alone.
Yet we are never alone for our Father God is always with us.
Like a daddy holding on as we begin to ride a bicycle without training wheels, He is holding us through the ordeal no matter how long the night may last. And we will wobble on this ride, but He will keep us from crashing. Drying our tears and reminding us to be strong and courageous.
I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.
It has been during some of the most trying, gut-wrenching times of my life — divorce, domestic violence, and another’s alcoholism or substance abuse — that I have felt His presence strong and sweet. Even now years later my heart thrills recalling how it felt – often during the wee hours — knowing He was right beside me and me kept by Him no matter what.
We know that trials come to test and build our faith, producing endurance.
But it’s hard to endure having no idea when or how a trial will end. During the darkest moments of my darkest days all I could do was offer up tears as prayers and say aloud that God is faithful and no good thing would He withhold from her who walked uprightly.
Yet I limped, made mistakes, tried again and cried some more. And He continued caring for me, holding me, soothing me.
My trials were lengthy but I kept on believing Him and filling my mind and heart with His powerful word so that I might endure.
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Lacking in nothing with pain making us perfect and crushing realities making us complete.
The Jesus Way. Him walking the long road to suffering the ultimate pain to make us perfect.
And Romans 8:28 is as true as all the other verses we often quote.
All things will be used by God for good in His time and His way.
Even when the path twists and turns and there are no shortcuts we just step out in faith one day at a time holding His hand, trusting that He is with us.
And it must follow as the night the day that enduring through trials with an openness to change will create in us a heart more submitted and ready to follow Him than ever before.
Because hearts humbled love better.
His love keeps spilling all over us. And our hearts growing ten thousand times as we reach the other side of tribulation, stronger in love, deeper in forgiveness, wider in grace.
Loss and pain are inevitable. The sun will rise and keep rising. And over time the intensity of our pain will downshift into the realm of ache and later still the ache will fade in memory.
It’s never easy and it can feel like we will die, but we can do all things in Christ.
Him always with us.
Even until the end of the age…
All our longings end in love.
If your woman’s heart needs to talk one-on-one with a woman who has experienced and survived no small amount of pain and darkness, you may want to consider C2: Comfort and Conversation.
And if your heart is breaking? Or someone you know is hurting?
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