3 Benefits Trials Can Reveal (if you’re open)

Dolly Lee Book Reviews 0 Comments

God doesn’t exempt us from suffering but God promises to be with us in our suffering. (Click to Tweet.)
And God promises to redeem our suffering, so our tears and pain are not wasted.
Fred Quta grew up in Kenya in the 1980s. His mother, a strong Christian, died when he was three years old. Fred recalled his father “follow[ed] Christ with all his ability.” Sadly when Fred was in eighth grade, his father died.
As a result, Fred now lived on the streets, “rummaging through garbage in search of food.” He learned firsthand “the hardship of poverty, the need for education, and the struggle to keep warm and eat.”
Fred vowed he would rise above his circumstances and serve Kenyan children somehow one day.
When he was sixteen, an American couple adopted him and eventually sent him to the United States to attend school.
Fast forward many years, Fred used his position in Parliament to serve Kenya and he began a foundation reaching out to the poorest orphans in Kenya.
You can read more of Fred’s story (pp. 74-79) and other encouraging stories of hope and faith in the book City On Our Knees.
Like Fred (though on a smaller scale), I wanted to encourage those with similar experiences; in Day 5 “What Trials Can Reveal,” of 7 Days of Soul Care, I shared part of God’s restoration process through trials.
 I pray the book can be part of another person’s restoration in Christ.
One of the paradoxes of faith is that years of living the Christian life and studying the Bible does not give us immunity from the troubling questions of faith. . . . Knowing that is OK to raise and struggle with the mysteries about God can be extremely liberating.Krish Kandiah, Paradoxology, 3.
Our broken world is not how God originally designed it but because of what Christ did, God has begun to restore the world. (See * at end of post.)
 
And I write to remind myself of what I’ve learned and continue to relearn in deepening ways whenever I face a trial.

3 Benefits Trials Can Reveal (if we’re open)

  • Our response to trials reveals what we really believe about God: true or false.

In my book, I wrote:

My time in therapy revealed several lies I believed about God. One key lie: if God loved me, then my life would be easier. I also unconsciously believed this lie: God would punish me if I felt or expressed anger, even if hurt and fear were underneath the anger. My felt belief didn’t include God being open to all of my feelings (such as, anger, hurt, and frustration).

When I believe the truth of God’s unconditional love for me, it transforms my experience of God’s love.
Grahame Cooke suggests asking two questions when trials come to change our perspective.
  • Trials can reveal the reality of God’s promise to never abandon us and his faithful presence.

It’s a mystery how God’s Presence meets us in our deepest pain.

Yes, sometimes He may appear absent and uncaring. But as I’ve clung to God (by His Grace), I have found a sweetness of relationship that can’t be explained.

Sara Frankl, who suffered from chronic pain and a terminal disease, wrote on how God answered her prayer to choose joy despite suffering.

As Allison Brown reminds us, God’s enduring promises are our provision on our journey.

  •  Trials reveal we can comfort another as God has comforted us.

Fred Outa channeled his sufferings as an orphan toward efforts to help other disadvantaged orphans.

I’ve learned to comfort others with the same comfort God has given me (see 2 Corin. 1:3-4).
The apostle Paul (who wrote most of the New Testament) was no stranger to suffering. He suffered 39 lashes five times, being stoned, beaten with rods, shipwreck, loneliness, slander, and imprisonment among other things.
When I read Paul’s list and how he views his pain in the light of his greater experience of God now and in the future, it hushes me.
Welcome to Week 5 of the 7 Days of Soul Care Book Club.

Excerpt from Journal Questions of Day 5:

“How can we worship God in lament as modeled by many of the psalms (for example, Psalm 22, 42, 69, and 73?
If you wrote a psalm to God, what would you write?”
“In many of the psalms, David honestly cried out to God with his anguish, pain, and questions but then he reaffirmed his trust in God and his goodness.
But the Bible also includes Psalm 88, which ends in darkness to acknowledge how we may feel at times. Worship doesn’t mean we wear a fake smile before God. Worship helps direct our eyes back onto God instead of our problems. And when we can’t worship, God still holds us close.

Sometimes trust is turning our gaze and our broken hearts toward God without words.”(Click to Tweet.)

Shortened prayer excerpt from Day 5:

“We praise you for being a God of all comfort and for your Holy Spirit’s constant presence within us. Please give us the grace to believe and receive the comfort you long to give us.”

What have you learned from the trials you’ve experienced?
What resonated with you from my list?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always appreciate your comments.
Jesus suffers with us and he knows like no one else what we feel. When he most needed his friends, they abandoned him. Day 5 of 7 Days of Soul Care
During our book club, if you’re ready for transformative soul care, you can buy a copy here and read reviews (get a free Kindle copy with purchase of a paperback).

Feel free to invite friends to join.

Remember soul care is not selfish. It’s wise because it connects us with our extraordinary God who is our life (see John 15:1-5) so we can be fruitful in our relationships and work.

If you want the scheduled questions for all 7 weeks, here is a downloadable PDF.

Why are we taking one week for each of the seven days in the book? Learn why and read part of the Introduction here.

Thanks for being here. I appreciate your presence here.

Next week, we discuss “Day 6: Take Steps Toward God” with new questions and activities.

(*) I’m reading Krish Kandiah’s book Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant to Be Simple. I just finished the first chapter on “The Abraham Paradox.” So far so good. I recommend the book.

I had the honor of hearing Krish Kandiah speak. Kandiah also addresses the Christ Paradox in another chapter of his book.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. It costs you nothing, but if you buy a book, I get paid a tiny % and it encourages me in my writing. A win-win.

Photo of tulips taken at Filoli Gardens and Estate.

Linking with encouraging Holley Gerth