Dealing with Trials

I think there are many ways, and different facets in dealing with trials. Even as a Christians, people deal with trials differently. Some trials are more difficult than others, but they are all, in fact, difficult. I don't think that there is a step by step solution that fits everyone, other than to look to Jesus, the perfecter of our faith. I do think, that there are some key points that the bible says in dealing with trials, some of which, I have been learning (and still am continuing to learn). 

The bible tells us a lot about what it means to go through trials, and the importance of them (1 Peter 5:10, James 1:12, John 16:33, Romans 5:3). My favorite might be the one in James that talks about, blessed is he who remains steadfast, because he will receive the crown of life. Amen! But how do we do that? What does it look like? So heres what it doesn't look like. 

It doesn't look like, happy smiles. It's foolish to believe that as a Christian we should always be happy. We should be joyful, but happy and joyful are not the same thing. No one expects you to be happy after you have lost a loved one, your house, your job, your spouse.... It's just not realistic. Someone once said, that as Christians we should have it all together for the non believing world. Really? I don't think so. It's inaccurate to portray the Christian life as a cakewalk. In fact, the bible says the complete opposite ( John 16:33, James 1:2-8). I think this is why at times we have so many people "leave" the faith. They expected their life to be perfect after coming to Christ. The bible says that there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3). There is a time to be heartbroken, there is a time to cry, and there is a time to laugh. 

The best example we have for dealing with trials is Christ. One of my absolute favorite passages in the bible is when we see Jesus pray in the garden. 

"My soul is very sorrowful, even to death" "he fell on his face and prayed" (Expert from Matthew 26)

Guys, thats a trial! Jesus Christ is the perfect example, in all things. He is the perfect example in suffering, He bore the ultimate punishment, and He did it perfectly. I often wondered why Jesus had to be both, fully human and God. We are able to see human weakness, overcome by a perfect God. This entire passage is such an excellent picture of the Christian walk. He gave us a perfect example of how to handle trials. I know, I keep saying perfect, but I am overwhelmed by the God we have. What stood out to me was that He didn't "brave" through it and say, oh well, I have to do this! He didn't say,  thats life, I'll be okay. He prayed. He fell on his face and prayed.

Thats the first thing we should always do. Often times, when I have exhausted all of my other resources, I am ashamed to say, my last resort is praying. This is Jesus first thought. Not an afterthought, but a priority. He didn't pray once, he prayed three times. Not only should we pray but we should be diligent in our prayers (Romans 12:12, 1 Thess 5:16). I really hate it when people say that praying is more for you. Yes, God knows our thoughts, and yes, he knows our hearts, but He also desires to have a relationship with us. He desires for us to seek Him, and even more 
extraordinary, He hears our prayers. 

The second thing is to accept God's will. It was hard for me to imagine that Ben dying was Gods will. I wanted answers and I didn't understand why God would allowed it to happen. One thing I will say, is don't ever let anyone tell you that suffering is not from God. I let myself believe that, I questioned if I was doing something wrong, and if I was being punished. Although, there are consequences for sin, God doesn't punish Christians. He does discipline those He loves (Hebrews 12:6), but thats not the same as punishment. Just like when Jesus prayed, not my will, but your will be done. We should also pray, and accept Gods will. This again, doesn't mean that it will be easy or that we will be happy. Jesus was sorrowful unto death, I don't think that went away when He was done praying. But I think they key, in all of this, is that He was faithful. The perfect example! Reading this just gets me. Do you understand that He was going to His death? A very painful, very humiliating, and lonely death.  He did that faithfully. In the same way, I want to be faithful, because He was faithful. 

Those two things are crucial in this Christian life. I have found that being thankful and remembering that this life is not all there is, are next. When I think about how one day I will get to be in heaven with Christ, with Ben, with my family, nothing compares to that. Sometimes we just need to step back and remove ourselves from this world. We need to be reminded that this life is cruel, it will spit you out with no remorse. The only comfort I find, is in knowing, that it is but a blimp in eternity. if that wasn't true, I couldn't keep going everyday. I wouldn't encourage others to keep going. I would say yes, you live a sad and lonely existence and you should absolutely feel hopeless that you will forever be miserable. Thats life apart from Christ! What hope is there? What joy is there? Nothing. In Christ, we find all hope, all joy. In knowing that He died for our sins on the cross, that He loves us, He cares for us, He knows us. That is something to rejoice about. I think that those are the truths that women like Marie Durant, Gladys, and Esther Staines knew when they were suffering. It won't always be as simple as some good theology, but I can assure you that God is enough for every trial. I leave you with this quote by John Piper.

   "The ultimate purpose of all things, is the praise of the glory of the grace of God supremely manifest on Calvary when the Son of God laid His life down to purchase and purify His wife out of an absolutely hell-bent rebellious people. That was the apex, and that's why God created the world, and that's why He created you."

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Christina Schergen said...

So so so good!

Michelle said...

Gosh, this is so good. You just NAILED it! I was nodding in agreement through this entire post. I want to give you a hug. You are so wise and I love that you write these truths.

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