There have been season in my life that I would never ever want to relive. Nor would I want to wish them on my enemies. Difficult seasons of loss, trials of the heart, and times of overwhelming stress can sometimes crush our spirits. But what about the following Scriptures:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
“In everything give thanks,” and “count it all joy when you fall into various trials.” How do we handle these ideas in the times that are not simple and easy to give thanks?
The first is to recognize how these things are used in our lives. Above I said that I would never ever want to relive those times, but I have to say that I would not wish them away. While I am not saying that I am glad whatever triggered the difficult time happened, I count the times after, though hard, precious.
A while back I wrote a post about the death of my friend’s granddaughter. While I would never wish that this precious life had ended, it was such an honor to walk with the family through that time. I learned a lot about grief and how to comfort people who are walking through grief. I am grateful for the deepened friendship, the sweetness of Christ ministering to the family through it, as well as the experience that it will give me for future ministry.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that when you hear difficult news you should immediately shout “Halelujah!” But I am saying that the longer you walk through hard times the easier it is to recognize how God truly does,
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
The biggest and best thing that I get out of difficult times is a deepened relationship with Jesus Christ. He ministers to the deepest parts of my soul. Let me quote the verses just before Romans 8:28:
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us* with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.