A personal trial is demanding in ways almost insultingly understated by the cliché knowledge that it’s not supposed to be easy. But dealt with wisely, we know that a trial is always for our ultimate betterment (James 1:2-8). In no way does this ensure the struggle will be less difficult, but if seen through, it does offer an assurance that the effort is worthwhile.
A trial is at heart a test of faith. It may demand an exercise of patience, obedience, self-control, and more. Whatever form it takes, the test begins when we’re asked to exercise beyond where we feel comfortable or able. The strength to overcome is within us, embodied in the Holy Spirit. But, in stress and uncertainty, our courage sometimes fails and we simply try to endure on our own. We were never designed for that.
In truth, even with our confidence in God, there are near impossible times. In tragedy, addiction, or eminent crisis, despite trusted support, passionate prayer, and hours in scripture… we can come to feel as if His presence has disappeared entirely. We can feel wronged and even forsaken. Sometimes, we wrestle with God like Jacob in the dessert (Genesis 32). In such times, we find ourselves reduced to nothing but our foundations. Then comes the real test. If you can be beaten and heartbroken to the point of madness and still devote yourself to the God who allowed it to happen, who even now seems so far away, and believe He’s never stopped acting out of love for you – you will be living out the very definition of faith. And such devotion carries with it the promise of blessings beyond what we can yet understand. Ours is not a blind faith, but when blinded to theology and our own experiences, it’s the choice to hold on that will not only see us through the worst of times but will solidify our relationship with Him in a way otherwise impossible.
C.S. Lewis once wrote from the view of a tempter in The Screwtape Letters, “Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
Friends, choose to endure in faith.