“God does not want our faith kept in mothballs, so He sometimes allows trials and testing to come into our lives; the unexpected hardships and heartbreaks that rock us in places we never thought we’d face as a child of God. And it’s in those defining moments that we knock off the cobwebs of our everyday faith and face life with a new and improved one that’s empowered by God Himself.”
― Ron Lambros
It’s pretty obvious that every single person on this earth will experience trials. No one can escape the probability of being tested in their faith. It will happen. And yet the outcome will differ drastically. Some will crumple under the pressure, giving up all hope, while others will find a way to thrive. Every circumstance is different, but truth of the matter is we all have control of how we perceive and react to our situation.
We can either wallow in despair of our suffering or we can look for the hope that exists, because blessings can be found in the midst of trials. Often times, we thank God for our supportive spouse, or the miracle of a child, we thank Him for our financial stability or our warm home. We thank Him for all of the wonderful blessings that have led to comfortable lives, but we rarely think about the blessings that came from the difficulties we have endured.
If I asked you what the top things you were grateful for, I would guess for most, painful experiences would not make the list. You would probably say your good health, the birth of a child, maybe even an award for a tender, or a promotion. Now If I asked you how those things brought you closer to God, how would you respond?
If you were anything like me, you would probably hesitate for a moment.
In those moments, there isn’t a need to rely on God’s strength to get you through the day when your own strength seems to be enough. Is this right? Absolutely not, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Look back to your most recent trial… Now consider those blessings that have grown your faith in God; the blessings that have helped you rely on our heavenly father. Where do those blessings reside?
When our second child was born, I saw how incredible and inexplicable our God truly was. 8 weeks into our third pregnancy, Mi-amore and I experienced the loss of a miscarriage. There was no scientific or spiritual explanation as to what happened, just that it happened. So when “Ms. Droolie” (as her brother has nicknamed her) entered this world, we both rejoiced for her birth and the loss of our unborn child. We were in a season trying to control what happened in our lives, and God used that pregnancy and miscarriage to remind us how in control He was and is. (Note – I did not say God caused the miscarriage).
God loved me so much, He used the pain of miscarriage to grow me and sharpen me and bring me closer to Him. I didn’t understand it at that time but when I look back at the events leading to my third child’s birth, I can truly see God’s hand and love over me. Let me give you context. So I had my second child in 2014 through a normal birth, our plan with Mi-amore was to get another baby as soon as our son turned two years. 2016 we started trying for a third child. We both knew or rather assumed it wouldn’t be hard but I battled with hormonal imbalance for slightly over a year. 2017 we got pregnant, but had a miscarriage at 8 weeks. It was heartbreaking to say the least because we had prayed and fasted for this child, but God had other plans.
2018 I got pregnant again and we were full of joy just reciting 1 Samuel 1:27 (NIV) “I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” Ms. Drooly however, was an emergency C-section something we had not planned for financially or physically. So back in 2014 when I went to into labor to deliver my son, I had a uterine rapture that went un-noticed because it was a normal birth. So the scar healed on its own making it a weak area. In 2018 during Ms. Drooly’s ETA the same area where the uterine wall raptured she turned towards the opening making her breech because the contractions were pushing her towards the wrong opening (the raptured area) hence the emergency C-section. I thank God all went well and we are enjoying raising her 9 months in.
Looking back I now see why God made us wait for four years and not two to have our third baby. He was giving me time to heal from the first uterine rapture so as to be able to carry the third pregnancy to term. Should we have insisted earlier, neither I nor our last born daughter would be alive today, and this gave me peace with the 8 weeks miscarriage. God was saving me for a bigger and better cause that am forever grateful for.
In Romans 5:3-5, Paul reminds the Roman Church to rejoice in their sufferings! He exclaims that these sufferings aka trials/tribulations produce endurance which in turn shapes our character, ultimately giving us hope that does not put us to shame, but instead makes us more like Christ.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the holy spirit who has been given to us.” This verse has been thee verse I have clung to since accepting Christ as my savior. It has brought me peace in all my storms. It has highlighted the truth that all the pain, the tears, and the suffering would be used for something far greater.
The apostle Paul does not say that the trials will be comfortable or pleasant. If anything, I’m sure he would be the first person to tell you that the trials he endured were intolerable, and yet, he rejoiced. Even in the midst of a storm (in prison), Paul wrote a letter to the Church of Philippi encouraging them in their faith.
How many of us would ever have the strength to encourage anyone when we are in the middle of a storm? I barely have enough energy to encourage myself let alone an entire church!
See, this isn’t about being happy for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced; this is about understanding how God is taking the opportunity to grow you, mold you, and use you to further His Kingdom.
Your pain is not in vain.
Paul was also the apostle who was given a thorn in the flesh to remind him of his dependency on the Lord. He pleaded with the lord to remove the thorn and yet it remained (2 Corinthians 12:8). The Lord responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
When you look back, do you see how God was working through you? Did you find the hidden blessing in the thick of the mess?
As I look back over our time the trials began with the miscarriage I spoke of earlier. This was the first time my husband and I had to mourn for a loss we shared together. As we navigated this pain, Mi-amore lost his job through a company restructure, I too lost my job further adding to the stressors of life. In the midst of that dark season, we grew closer as husband and wife. Mi-amore learned to support me while managing his grief, and I learned how to be a safe place for my husband’s vulnerability.
Over the last two years, we have navigated many financial constraints, missed job opportunities, lost loved ones and missed their funerals, all of these events creating a different kind of pain that felt unbearable at the moment. Yet, our testimony has been used to encourage those who follow in our footsteps the same way our mentors continue to inspire us. God has shown up at every turn, to carry us through, even when we don’t understand the why behind the trial.
Ultimately, it’s not about why we lost our baby, or why we have endured financial constraint in some months, but how God has used those opportunities to sanctify us.
My eyes start to water as I worry about what the rest of 2019 is going to look like. In this moment my human nature at times takes precedence and I see/feel our future looks bleak. Mi-amore’s business is taking time to pick up, all my job application have not attracted a potential employer for an interview… I want to remain in this moment for a while. Wallow in the stressors of what our future will hold, but I can’t.
By remaining in self-pity, I am denying a much bigger truth that exists. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Matthew 6: 34.
The truth that God tells us not to worry about tomorrow (or the distant future). An internal dialogue breaks out between our heavenly Father and me as I battle what I believe to be true vis a vis my current reality.
Yes, Lord, I get it. I know not to worry about tomorrow (or 4 months down the road), but it looks so bleak. It looks hopeless. I don’t know how I am going to survive it alone without a steady income, I don’t want to go through this. Haven’t we gone through enough?
Gently, He reminded me that He wasn’t asking me to do it alone. At no point has God ever sent someone through a storm, alone. This would be an opportunity for me to open the door and allow God to dwell with me; to be in my home on those helpless nights and cry to Him in desperation at my weaknesses of self reliance. To be comforted in knowing that it wasn’t my strength that would get me through but His.
The earthly truth is, the bills don’t know business will take time to grow and reap returns or that job application was unsuccessful, but the heavenly truth is that He will provide everything we need. The heavenly truth is that I will not be alone. The heavenly truth is that through this upcoming season there is hope.
Hope because we have been saved through faith by the grace of the very One who strengthens us. And this hope is what I will be meditating on every second the enemy tries to scare me with the reality of life. I will choose to look at my desperation as an opportunity to draw near to Him. I GET to lean on the Lord in a very real way.
2019 has not changed for us, am still jobless and clueless of what God wants from me in this season, but our future is no longer hopeless. Our future is filled with ample opportunity for God to shower His love for us. Our future is an opportunity for Him to continue to prepare us for His kingdom. I can testify of this because we have never slept hungry, our children are in good health, they have not been kicked out of school, we have not been kicked out of our house all because we have looked up to Him as THE SOURCE of all our needs. I refuse to remain in the pits but will prepare my heart with His truth. His words. His embrace.
Will you join me?
Be encouraged, readers, to allow God to use you during those seasons. Rejoice in knowing that although you may not understand why, He will use you. There is a hidden blessing. Even if you don’t see it or feel it; Trust Him.