I wish things were different. I don’t know about you, but there have been many times in my life that I’ve said or thought those words. The other day I came across a quote from Elisabeth Elliot, and it really resonated with me. She said, “The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.” No one desires pain or discomfort, but unfortunately, due to a fallen world those things will always be present. A new set of circumstances will bring new trials. Thankfully, there is good news – Christ in us! Romans 8:11 says, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” We are not in this alone.
I went through a time in my life where I prayed for different circumstances and struggled to understand why I was having to endure such trials. As those circumstances spiraled out of my control, I did the only thing that I could do – I turned to the Lord. I began to put on the spiritual armor that is so often talked about during sermons and in Bible studies. I woke up each morning, and I pleaded with God in prayer, then I read and reread the Psalms. I wrote down verses that I knew I would need to hear throughout the day, and I meditated on them. I listened to sermons and podcasts, and soon my attitude began to change. God began to get bigger (as He rightfully is), and my problems began to seem smaller. My circumstances didn’t immediately change, but little by little, my heart did. I weathered the storm with God and when I came out on the other side, I was still in one piece. He delivered me. It was such a powerful feeling, to have made it through a difficult time and to realize that through it all, He never left me.
Psalm 91:2 says, “He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” This verse stood out to me because of the last four words – and I trust him. It wasn’t until my next trial began that I realized I trusted God because of what I had already been through. I saw His faithfulness! These trials that we go through can serve a mighty purpose, a purpose that nothing else in this life can fulfill – they build our trust in our Heavenly Father. As we develop that trust in God, we can look at our circumstances and say, “This is not the way I want things, I’m struggling, but he is my God, and I trust Him.” Those last four words are the difference between despair and hope. I know that when we are going through painful situations we may not feel so trusting, and we might even feel abandoned due to our emotions. The Bible says that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything (1 John 3:20). He understands our doubts and fears, and He loves us through them. He knows what the rest of the story looks like when we don’t. These trials we endure may not feel like they are beneficial, but they can establish an unwavering trust in the Lord if we let them. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Gen. 50:20). I pray that you will be encouraged, and know that God can use difficult times to establish a deeply rooted trust and faith in Him (Colossians 2:7). As our trust grows, our faith will be more evident in our lives and will touch the lives of those around us.
Written by Christina Painter