Pain, my constant companion,
the darkness of my soul.
Waves tossing and turning,
crashing as they roll.
Dark waters fail to fill the void,
though they rush within.
Chocking on the waters,
yet I inhale again.
A broken poem for a broken girl
with brokenness inside.
Though I’m drowning,
I don’t fear the rising tide.
I embrace the cold waters
and allow myself to feel,
welcoming the pain
that’s suddenly so real.
It’s hurting all at once,
not a little at a time,
which is why I’m pouring the hurt
into this little rhyme.
It’s the little moments that rip and tear
where none can see,
the little moments that rip and tear
right through the inside of me.
But I know my God will prove
His love for me again,
so it’s with a splinted heart
that I put down my pen.
Trials hurt. They’re painful, emotionally exhausting, and filled with tears, drama, and stress. It’s so easy to get caught up in the pain and forget that trials are a wonderful opportunity to shine, because at the time they seems anything but. It’s easy to say we’ll face trials in the future with dignity, maturity, and wisdom. It’s also easy to look back and see how a certain trial shaped us into who we are today. Like when I lost senator, but was voted governor. In a previous blog post, I said if I had to choose between failing to get elected senator and getting elected governor or just getting elected governor, I would choose the former. All the pieces fell in place, and I saw how God used my failure as a stepping stone.
But in the midst of a trial, in the midst of our pain and turmoil, it’s too easy to forget that it’s an opportunity and that in the future, we’ll get to see exactly how that opportunity shapes us. Trials can make us forget what we know and what we will know. Sometimes we forget we’re supposed to shine brightest in the darkness. This is why the story of Job is so incredible.
Servant and after servant comes to him, telling him how he’s lost everything—his livestock, livelihood, and children.
“At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
I know when tears are running down my face and I’m trying to stifle sobs, I don’t exactly feel like worshipping. When pain tightens my chest, so that simply breathing hurts, I don’t feel like praising God. When I feel like I’ve been emotionally water boarded, I don’t always want to pour out gratitude.
The funny thing about pain is that it’s always hard to imagine just how bad it is until you’re experiencing it in the moment. It’s easy to say before or after a trial that you know God has a plan. This is why today’s post is on the opportunity in trials. If you haven’t been through a trial in a while, then tuck this knowledge away for the future. If you’re looking back on a trial, see how this information applies to what you’ve experienced. And if you’re going through a trial, then this blog post is especially for you. I hope it will be a reminder of the opportunity you have to define who you are, who you’re going to be, and to prove that you’ll keep God first no matter what.
Throughout our life, we’re given choices. We’re all familiar with the little choices we make on a day-to-day basis. Then there are the big choices that often accompany trials—choices that define you and who you will be.
Trials often plant us in the middle of a crossroad. The next step we take can define what path we’re on in the future. I don’t know about you, but these types of choices both excite me and stress me out. It’s great to set the precedent for how I want to act in the future, and it’s great to see how my mettle is tested, but what if I make the wrong decision? What if this is a test of my character, and I fail completely and utterly? What if I choose the wrong road, even though I’m trying to seek God?
In a recent phone call, a friend explained it to me like this: imagine you’re at a crossroad. These roads don’t just gradually part—they veer away from each other in opposite directions. One goes left, the other goes right. You honestly desire to do God’s will, but you don’t know which one He would choose for you. So you make your best decision and go right.
As it turns out, you went the wrong way. The road that goes left is the one that goes in the direction you’re supposed to. But as you walk along the road, you find that it gradually turns to the left—the way God intended you to go. All along, God was three steps ahead of you, and all you have to do to go the right direction is to follow Him and seek His will with all your heart.
But what if you can’t even see where the two paths split? What if you’ve been planted smack-dab in this situation and you don’t even have a say-so in what’s happening? For example: what if your parents decided to move? What could you do then? There’s doesn’t seem to be a choice involved; you can’t stop the move after all.
“You can’t always control the circumstances—only how you react to those circumstances.”
Even if you can’t change your circumstances, you can change yourself. You always have a choice.
Which leads me to another choice we’re faced with during trials: we can either run to God or from Him. God allows these things to happen to us to test both ourselves and our relationship with Him. Do you remember when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, on an altar? Abraham was completely prepared to give Isaac up, but God didn’t truly want to take Abraham’s son; He wanted to test Abraham’s relationship with Him.
Trials are an opportunity, not a guarantee that anything good will come of them. My parents always tell me that you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. God can present us with opportunities, but then it’s our responsibility to take these opportunities and prove to both God and ourselves where He is on the priority list.
Many of my trials are related to my parents. After all, they’re the authority figures in my life. They’re usually the ones that make me do things I don’t want to, so it’s no surprise that there are clashes. A friend reminded me that as my parent’s child, I have a God-given responsibility to honor them. I still disagree with my parents, of course, but in each situation I’m reminded that I can choose to honor my parents and follow God’s calling or I can succumb to my own emotions and desires. I get to decide whose wishes are going to be prioritized: mine or God’s.
“You are the light of the world.”
Trials are opportunities to shine. God allows trials into our lives to reveal who we are, define who we’re going to be, and to develop a deeper relationship with Him. Light shines brightest in the darkness, and so should we.
What trials are you facing right now? What trials have you faced? What’s the hardest part of going through a trial? How have you shined through your trials?