I have to be honest, this is not a post I ever thought I would be writing, but it has been on my heart lately and I know there’s truth to it… so here goes!
Lately I have been seeing the value in going through great trials. Losing a baby, for instance has been the biggest trial I have ever faced, and I miss the effect that it had on my relationship with Jesus.
When going through a hard situation it is so tempting to long for it to end and get back to your ‘normal’ life. Difficult times are difficult for a reason, and nobody enjoys difficulties (at least I don’t). We do need these scenarios, though, to strengthen our character and help us become who we were meant to be. Without trials, we would be weaker versions of ourselves and would probably take less risks in life. Yes, as difficult as trials can be, they are an important part of growing up.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
I believe that in going through life’s hardships, our faith levels are tested. It’s during these times that we see how we honestly view God and how we want to proceed in our relationship with Him. Some people may blame Him for their difficulties and distance themselves from Him, while others may seek Him in desperation for comfort and peace. We need to face these hardships to see how we would respond to His open arms.
My relationship with God before losing our second baby, Briela, was fine. I loved Him and knew how good He was. I wasn’t desperate for Him though. I knew He was a good Father, but I don’t think I knew how good. Life was comfortable and going according to my plans, so I don’t think I quite understood how important He should have been in my life.
When we entered the storm and were surrounded by darkness upon the death of our child, it all became crystal clear how amazing our heavenly Father was! He instantly became the center of my world, and I clung to Him for dear life! There hadn’t been a time in my life before that season where I had been so desperate to be near God. I needed to be held by Him, to hear His truths and promises for me, to just be wrapped in all that He is – love. I was constantly in the bible and in prayer, and it was all the comfort that I needed at that time. Of course finding comfort in other people was important also; I actually made quite a lot of friendships that are still valuable to me today, but the bond that I formed with God was one that I will never forget.
As the months have gone by, the wound in my heart has slowly healed and I am now at a place where my desperation for God’s comfort has subsided. I still know He is good, and I still know how important He needs to be in my life, but the desire to constantly be with Him isn’t as crucial anymore. I think that’s what James 1:2 means; “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds”. When you are going through these trials, God seems so much closer and evident than at any other time. It’s during these moments (assuming you’re choosing to run to Him and not from Him) that your relationship is at its strongest. And when we persevere in pressing in to Him and the love that He is ready and willing to pour out into you, we become stronger in our faith and character. And what happens when that happens? Hope! When we allow God’s goodness and glory to seep through us and lean on Him with everything we have, there’s enough hope to move the mountains! (and get through our trials unscathed)
I guess what I’m saying is, I miss the storm because of the closeness I had with God. I know that that closeness is always attainable, but only with perseverance and effort. We need to continue striving for more of Him, even when we aren’t desperate, and sometimes it can seem more challenging. The chapter I currently am in (home with a newborn baby, homeschooling a 6 year old and raising a 4 year old), seems more of a challenge in making the time and effort to spend with God since I feel my plate is sometimes overflowing. My relationship with Him seems to be on a completely different level… but I suppose that’s true for anyone. We all go through different seasons and stages in life; sometimes we feel overwhelmed, sometimes we feel like we aren’t doing enough, but I think what’s more important is that we do seek Him, even if it’s a quick “Help me Lord!” or “Please give me patience today God!”. He is always there with open arms, we just need to choose to fill them!