Have you ever experienced the Lord working in your life in a very hard way? That is painful? That is sometimes still painful? Have you ever sat there wondering how it could ever work out for your good? I have, in fact, most Christians have. The Lord has been teaching me a lot about trials and trusting Him as He has faithfully been bringing me through it.
Hard times are inevitable in our Christian walk. James tells us to be joyful when trials come into our lives (James 1:2,3) Peter, writing to the dispersed Jews, told them “You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials.” (1Peter 1:6 HCSB) Trials are not a new thing in believers’ lives. In fact, later in 1 Peter, he writes, “Dear friends, when the fiery ordeal arises among you to test you, don’t be surprised by it, as if something unusual were happening to you.” (1Peter 4:12 HCSB) So, as Christians, we know trials are going to come, but in a sense we dread their coming. We enjoy our comfortable lives just how they are. The Lord is faithful and sovereign, and He knows that when we get good and comfortable we can lose sight of Him, not need Him, get used to doing things on our own. The Lord always has a purpose and He, in His grace, uses these trials in our lives for our good and His glory, to conform us to the image of Christ. (Romans 8:28, 29)
During these trials, how much more do we go to the Lord? How much more do we seek His face? How much deeper is our relationship with Him when He has brought us through the fire? We can say for sure that trials are a good thing in our lives, and if we allow them they can bring us closer to the Lord than we ever knew was possible.
Yet, the reality is, those times are still hard, they often hurt deeply or take us way out of our comfort zones, or both. And in the middle of those times, we are broken and being molded and we don’t like it. Sometimes we hate it even though the end result is always for our good, for His glory. But it’s because of that end result that we have hope, we can rejoice, and we can take refuge in the One who satisfies us completely because of His very nature (Psalm 145:16).
Recently, the Lord has taken from my life something that I was planning on being there for a very long time, but He has also taken me into a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him. I have seen the Lord work in my heart and lead in ways that I never expected, but it has not happened without pain, brokenness, and suffering. But the Lord is faithful, and He has moved and acted just like He promised. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act,”(Psalm 37:5 HCSB). By the Lord’s grace He has given me joy, hope, and comfort. He has used this time to teach me about His Spirit and being obedient to Him. His loving hand is guiding me and continuing to provide for my deepest needs and satisfy all of my desires. Even though this time has been the hardest time in my life, I am thankful for it, and thankful for where the Lord has brought me.
It’s during the hard times that we run to the Lord, He welcomes us with open arms, and leads us to a deeper relationship with Him. And in the end we can look back and see how far we have come.
Elisabeth Elliot said “God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — ‘severe mercies’ at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better.”So, trusting in God’s mercy, I draw near to Him and follow where He leads me.
*Elizabeth Sewall is going to major in ESL at Davis College, but currently taking courses at Baptist Bible College. She is hoping to use ESL to minister overseas. She likes to play basketball, hike, swim, and make music videos with her roommate. She loves to sing and dance, but only in the private confines of her room.