Jesus is always with us no matter what we are going though. He gave us His Holy Spirit to guide us and strengthen us in every situation. However, Jesus never promised us that our life will be free of suffering. In fact, Jesus told us that “here on earth we will have many trials and sorrows”. Jesus also encouraged us “to take heart, because He has overcome the world” (John 16:33). Because Jesus has overcome the world, we are overcomers too. For we are told that “in this world we are just like Him” (1 John 4:17). We also know that “His grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in our weaknesses” (2 Corinthians 12:9), and that “we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us” (Philippians 4:13). Please notice that God never asked us to rely on our power, but on His strength.
When we face challenges in life, and disappointment and suffering overwhelm us, we might have a hard time distinguishing Jesus’ voice. When Jesus shows us something about ourselves that we don’t like, we might even doubt that we hear His voice in the beginning. But deep inside us, we know that is HIM. Because we know His voice and we are His. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). I believe that our inner fight makes it difficult for us to accept what Jesus shows us because it is painful. Sometimes we are mistreated and hurt, yet still Jesus asks us to forgive and be kind with those who hurt us. He also shows us our faults and shortcomings. Our struggle is to let go to what happened to us and move on, knowing that we can trust God completely with our future.
Jesus always guides us even when our faith is weakened by the trial. We get glimpses of Him helping us and especially comforting us. Let us open our hearts wide because Jesus is worthy to be trusted. Although it may seem that He is late, Jesus is never late. His time is perfect. He accomplishes a work in us and nothing gets wasted. Of course, we can’t find any joy in the suffering; at least not in the first stage of the trial when we are still in shock. But as the time goes by, God reveals things to us about Himself, ourselves and others. The darkness is not so dark anymore. God’s light permeates through and highlights thoughts and attitudes of our hearts that are not pleasant to see or recognize. It comes the time when we stop blaming anyone else around us and take responsibilities for our own thoughts and actions. That is usually the time when miracles happen, when God makes everything right in His time. Sometimes we pray for deliverance, but we are the stumbling block and we can’t see it. As soon as we surrender and listen to what Jesus shows us, our hearts begin to change.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). We do consider it pure joy after the trial has passed. Because in it, a maturing of our faith takes place. Some things we didn’t need got burned along the way and we are free to enjoy His presence without dragging unnecessary baggage.
There are so many wisdom gifts imparted in the trial. These are like precious pearls we can wear for any occasion for the rest of our lives but also share with others in need. Because the testing and strengthening of our faith was not done for us alone. It was done also to help others who go through similar circumstances. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
For all of you who are going through a trial right now, remember that “…for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).