Deep Darkness? Shine Brighter!

How do we manage prolonged trials?  I don’t just mean a few weeks or even a couple of months I mean years of many, continued trials.  Unless hope is renewed in our heart, exhaustion and discouragement hover like a plague and quoting bible verses, fervent prayer, and spiritual warfare (the very things that bring victory) get put on the back burner.  Why -Because of exhaustion…simply being worn out.
Early on, faith and perseverance are easier to manage but as time goes by, it’s natural to be worn down and the fight becomes extremely difficult and exhausting.  It’s easy to feel sick of trials and sick of opposition and to wonder where God’s promised blessings are hiding. 

I’ve asked myself many times how a person navigates through all this without arriving at the point where life becomes an existence – just a pathway of numbly plodding on.   I believe that there is a place of victory in every trial.  Yes…every trial.  I also believe that it is often hard to find that place when we are exhausted mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

If victory is to be known, somehow we must find a way to make time to:

  • Fall to our knees in prayer, regularly – even just 10 minutes a day. (Write down your prayer to help focus)

  • Do spiritual warfare – bind the enemy from bringing spiritual destruction to your life and loose victory instead.

  • Pray for contentment in trials and to bloom where God has planted you

  • Pray for change but let go of the timing and exact outcome.

  • Read the bible – at least 10 verses a day.

  • Memorize verses of overcoming and victory – If it’s overwhelming, use Google to find verses.

  • Find friends that spiritually encourage and pray for you.

  • Attend church

  • Do something for someone else, if you aren’t already.

God hasn’t placed us on Earth to just numbly exist.  Instead He placed us on Earth to live productive lives that make a difference in the world, regardless of our situations.  Allowing Him to use us in the midst of our difficulties will bring honor and glory to His name.  Life isn’t about what we want; it’s all about our Lord and furthering His message.
We must strive to bloom where God has planted us, even when we think the soil is bad, or there’s too much shade, or there’s not enough water to grow, or we wish He’d planted us somewhere else. We must do our trials well.     

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

By Rhonda Shelford Jansen

Reason for Pain

My Sister
If  in my pain there is learning
In learning there is understanding
In understanding there is sharing
In sharing there is acceptance
In acceptance there is forgiveness.

Then in my pain there is purpose
purpose of understanding and healing
Not one tear has been wasted if it’s
Shared with my sister and it
Helps ease the pain of her burden.

Romans 5:3-4
Moreover, let us also be full of joy now! Let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. 4) and endurance develops maturity of character – that is approved faith and tried integrity.  And character produces joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

Debora Shelford Hobbs

Hope in Suffering

Why does God allow us to suffer loss?  Why does God allow bad things to happen?  If God loves us, why doesn’t He rescue us?  Those three questions have been asked countless times and even the greatest scholars have difficulty providing a complete answer.   Many people walk away from faith because they cannot reconcile a loving God with suffering and that is a tragedy.

In an attempt to find a partial answer to these questions, I have been thinking about King David and one of my favorites, Joseph.

God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of rape, thrown into prison, and forgotten for 13 years when He could have groomed Joseph for leadership through a far quicker, easier, and kinder means.  Doing so would have saved Joseph and his family much suffering and grief.  But He didn’t; God allowed them to suffer.  God loved Joseph.

What about King David?  He was anointed King when he was around 17 + years old.  But spent nearly 10  years on the run for his life, living amongst criminals, hiding in caves, and nearly starving…he even pretended he was insane  to save his life. 
He was 30 years old before he became King of Judah and 37 years old before he became King of all Israel.  God could have given David the throne and taught him humility through a far quicker, easier, and kinder means. But He didn’t; God allowed him to suffer.  God loved David.

In both cases their dreams looked dead. In both cases they walked through their hardship and suffering; they didn’t give up and they lived to see the amazing outcomes that God had for them.  God used their hardship to grow them in character and humility which prepared them for great leadership. If the two men had given up on the journey and decided that God’s promises were bogus; if they had sunk into permanent depression and became disappointed with God, Do you think they would have realized their final victory? Or would they have seemed like two guys with really terrible lives, dying without ever knowing what God had for them.

When trials rage and all seems lost; when we are exhausted from trouble and disappointment defines our lives… we must never give up. God frequently achieves His purposes slowly. He is into a quality outcome not a quick outcome and He knows quality takes time.  Time is something those of us in the modern world don’t like… we’re impatient. 

When walking a path of trials, reach God’s intended destination.   Grasp on to the hope that God’s outcomes are awesome and let nothing rob that hope …be prisoners of hope.   Zechariah 9:12 says Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.  God is in control; He allows suffering in our lives to prepare us for something amazing and in the end, He will bring restoration if we will only submit ourselves to God and trust Him through the trial…don’t give up! 
Let’s kneel before our God, our Maker, and trust Him with the direction He allows our lives to take and grasp on to the hope that ultimately God has an outcome that will cause the pain of today to fade away. 

By Rhonda Shelford Jansen