Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.
He prowls around like a roaring lion,
looking for someone to devour.
Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.
Remember that your family of believers all over the world
is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
In His kindness God call you to share in His eternal glory
by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while,
He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and
He will place you on a firm foundation. 1 Peter 5:8-10 (NLT)
Our trials can cause us to feel so very alone.
No matter the trial, many times our friends disappear after a week or so and it seems no one understands what you are going through. For me, doctors were baffled because the testing would all come back normal. So we were tempted to feel that even the doctors did not believe me. Some doctors were compassionate, some were not.
If there is one thing I learned sitting in waiting rooms of the doctors’ offices, x-ray and blood labs, physical therapy clinics, and especially at Mayo Clinic, it was that I was not alone. It was overwhelming to see how many people are suffering and they are suffering much more than I. Not to use their pain to ease mine, but to put it all into perspective. When I looked around, I saw that I had nothing to complain about and so much to thank God for. My suffering was inconsequential compared to what many have had to deal with.
If I expand the scope of sight to Christians around the world that are being tortured and killed for their faith, I really have nothing to say at all. And ultimately, when I look at what Jesus Christ did for me, I am ashamed that I would even want to put myself in the same category.
But I am comforted …
…to know that He knows my pain and He holds me up. He is my support and my strength through the trial. And that my light and temporary suffering will not last long. After a little while, He will lift me out of the miry clay and put me on a firm foundation.
So, how is God able to support and strengthen us, when you go through various trials?
1) By leaning on His promises. Reading scripture has lifted me up so many times through my trials, but listen, there are times when you are not able, for whatever reason, to actually read the scriptures. This is why I have always encouraged scripture memory. If you have hidden His Word in your heart, he can bring it to mind when you are unable to read it for yourself. Meditating on memorized scriptures has been my main support when I am having procedures or injections that are painful. I was able to concentrate on the scripture instead of what the technician/surgeon was doing.
2) Resist the devil Quoting scripture is one of the best ways to give the old devil a beating when he tries to get his foot in the door. And believe me, he will try to bring you down. He will whisper all kinds of lies in your ear to convince you that you deserve this pain, or to become angry at those who have been the cause of your pain, or to get you feeling sorry for yourself. He has so many ways to deceive us.
3) Singing His Praise. We’ll get more into this down the road. But I just want to mention that praise is a key element in the survival of the fittest. If you can’t sing; that is, your trial is so deep that you are unable to make music, then just meditate on the words of a hymn. God gave me this old hymn which has become so meaningful to me … as if I had never heard the words before.
How Firm a Foundation
I’m linking up with Karen at Tuesdays at Ten. Her prompt today is “FAITH”. I wrote this about faith while going through trials in a series I did last fall on Waiting and Trusting God.