“God will not give an easy journey to the Promised Land, but He will give a safe one.” — Andrew Bonar
“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” — Bertha Calloway
“We are always in the forge or on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things.” — Henry Ward Beecher
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers (various) temptations (trials); Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:2–3).
Trials are not the real problem. It’s the way we see our trials that is. Ultimately, what happens to us is incidental compared to the way we view our adversity. God says, “When you are overwhelmed with hardship and trouble, stop and have a party.” Note that He says, “Count it all joy.” The reason to celebrate difficulty is because of its benefits. And the first benefit is growth in patience.
Our character is more important than our circumstances; and with this divine perspective, we are empowered to welcome trials, tribulations, and tests, rather than dread them. They are part of the curriculum. Someone once noted, “The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.” What a person gleans from trials is invaluable, and the ability to lend a hand to others in difficulty is priceless.
The school of suffering may include seasons of silence, as well as seasons of darkness, depression, failure, trouble, loss, weakness, and sorrow. Therefore, it is imperative to remember that all of life consists of seasons and that these seasons are never permanent. Few things are as bad as they seem at first. When tragedy strikes, it may seem as if your whole world is falling apart around you. But in time, you will emerge from this season and enter another.
It has been said, “Time does not heal all wounds, but it does take time for wounds to heal.” Grief is a normal and necessary part of life — so don’t chastise yourself for being human! Life is hard, and it takes time to recover once you have been knocked off your feet. Extend a grace period to yourself. Counsel yourself just as you would someone else in a similar situation. Blaming yourself fixes nothing. If you have suffered a loss, feeling down is normal. Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. He was saddened and even angered by the death of His friend and the grief of Mary and Martha. Jesus was just as much a man as He was God. He felt compassion, got upset, shed tears, and mourned — and so must you.
That said, in trouble you must be careful not to trust your emotions. They are not infallible and can easily lead you astray. Richard Carlson wrote a book titled: “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff.” His book is filled with wisdom on perspective in adversity. He observes that many things in life won’t matter in five years. Few things will matter in 20 years. Very few things will matter in 50 years. And nothing will matter in 100 years. If the things you are fretting about now will be inconsequential later — DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF!
The point is this — when facing trials, you must learn to see the bigger picture in God’s plan. When you place a quarter directly over your eye, it shuts everything else out of sight. But place that same quarter 100 feet away, and you can barely see it. In the same way, when troubles first come, they can block your spiritual vision and prevent you from seeing further than your immediate trial. You must back away in order to get a bird’s-eye view of your trial. Regaining this perspective will strengthen you in your storm.
When one chapter ends, don’t close the book. Start writing another chapter. Let your scars remind you of where you have been, but never let them determine where you are going. You are a survivor, not a statistic. You are an overcomer, not a victim. You cannot go back and make a brand-new start, but you can start now and make a brand-new ending. Yesterday ended at midnight — so make the most of today!
- Are you looking at your trial through the lens of God’s Word and in light of eternity?
- Have you truly given yourself the time you need to grieve and recover?
- Is there anything in your current adversity that is causing you to fret that should not be?
Taken from “Extraordinary Strength in Adversity” by Harold Vaughan. CLICK HERE for more information on the book.