Comfort in Trials | A Devotional - Grounded in Truth Company

Comfort in Trials | A Devotional

Guest blog written by Mrs. Kayla Whittle.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. | Romans 8:28

I’ve heard it said before that all of us are in one of three places.  We are either headed into a new trial, currently in the midst of a trial or in the process of coming out of a trial.  Understandably so, these are not encouraging words for believers, but they are ultimately very true.  The Bible never indicates to us that upon our salvation, all of our worldly problems will disappear.  The fact of the matter is that, despite our salvation, we live in a sinful world that is highly influenced by the powers of Satan.  How could we ever expect to be untouchable by his influence?  James 1:2-4 says “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  James is telling us explicitly that trials breed patience and patience breeds satisfaction, or a want for nothing.  Satisfaction in Christ, that is.  Truly, what more could we need?

The greatest trial I have experienced in my life began when I was a little girl.  In 1998, my little sister Lindsey, at the age of 7 was diagnosed with childhood cancer and ultimately succumbed to her disease.  I was 11 years old when I lost my only sister.  At the time, my 11-year-old mind didn’t understand the extent that this trial would have on my entire life.  Of course, I was sad and knew that life would never be the same, but it has been as an adult that I have felt the most pain from her loss.  I’ve since grown up to be a wife and a mother, without the opportunity to share those special life moments with the God-given best friend that one would normally share them with.  I’ve longed to see my sister love on my own children in only the way an aunt can.  Especially given the fact that had she lived, she likely would not have been able to carry her own children due to her childhood cancer and treatment.    I have even dreamt of the possibility of carrying her children for her.  How special would that have been?  I’ve watched my friends with their adult sisters and been envious of their relationships, while knowing full well that it was not the Lord’s plan for me to experience those moments.  I still don’t understand why God allowed the death of my sister; however, I’ve learned that God’s plan is always perfect in His time.  Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  The Bible doesn’t say that all things are good; it says all things work together for good, but with two qualifiers.  One, for those that love God or those that are saved and two, for those that are called according to His purpose, or His will.  God’s will is perfect, and while our human minds can’t fathom the why, our hearts can ultimately accept God’s will with His help.  

bible verse quote romans 828 all things work together good

In preparation for writing this, and because I don’t have it all figured out, I began to think about ladies from the Bible who experienced trials.  I also asked the Lord to give me a Biblical example and I believe He gave me Mary, the mother of Jesus.  We find the most detailed story of Mary in the Gospel of Luke.  While the Bible never tells us exactly how old Mary was when the angel came to her, we do know that she was already espoused to Joseph.  Historically we know that girls in that culture could have been espoused to a man as early as age 12, and many Biblical scholars believe Mary was between the age of 15-16 when she gave birth to Jesus.  

It is my understanding, from studies of the culture during this time, that a young, unwed girl, with-child might have been persecuted, mocked, abused and even shunned.  At the very least, her reputation would have been questioned and potentially ruined.  In my mind it doesn’t take a large stretch of the imagination to think that she may have questioned God when the angel appeared to her and told her what was to come.  We know from Luke 1:34 that Mary questions the angel saying, “how shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”.  Even at her young age, Mary knew what needed to occur for her to be with-child; how fearful might she have been for what was to come of her?  While the Bible doesn’t elaborate much on Mary’s emotional state during this time, it does tell us in Luke 1:38 of Mary’s ultimate acceptance of what was to come of her.  Mary’s response was “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”  While Mary did ultimately accept her fate, as documented in Luke 1, my mind still wonders what emotions she would’ve experienced during the time of her pregnancy.  Nine months is a decent length of time.  Knowing the potential for what others would think of her, would it not be feasible to think that at some level she might’ve asked God to change His plans?  Might she have said “why me?”  I realize the Bible doesn’t give the indication that Mary was anything other than willing, but she was also human.  In her human heart, could she have been fearful of the repercussions of the growing bump she was carrying?  Could she have wondered what people would think, would her family trust her when she told them what the angel said was to come? 

I am truly thankful for how the Bible does record Mary’s acceptance because it is an amazing example for us to follow when we are faced with circumstances that we would have never chosen for ourselves.  Mary knew how special this child was and how privileged she was to carry Him.  Throughout Jesus’ life, Mary was there, likely rejoicing in who her son was and all the marvelous things she witnessed of him.  While he was perfect and never sinned, unlike any of our children, he was her child.  The mere fact that she carried him in her womb gave she and he the most special bond that God has given any of us.  That is the bond we have with our mothers.  Take a moment to reflect on how much Mary would have loved her son, Jesus.  Compare the love you have for your children and try to imagine the love she would have had for him, given he was God’s son. It’s almost an inconceivable love.  

Now in your mind, fast forward to the days leading up to his crucifixion.  Because Jesus, the man was also 100% God, he knew what was to come.  He anticipated as a man that the next little while would hold unthinkable pain and torture for his human body to endure.  While knowing as God that the pain and torture was only for a season.  Yet he still asked his heavenly father to consider changing the plan.  Jesus says in Luke 22:42a “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me…”.  Does that sound familiar to what we established Mary might have said when she received the news that she would carry a child without knowing a man?  The kicker, however, is at the end of this verse.  Jesus goes on to say in Luke 22:42b “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”  Now, who does that remind you of?  Maybe Mary, in Luke 1:38 when she said, “be it unto me according to thy word.”  Mary accepted the will of God for her life, despite the potential for trial.  Humanly, Mary faced trials and ultimately, she sat at the foot of the cross while the evil Roman soldiers tortured and crucified her son.  God’s son, who in no way deserved what he was being given.  How often do we question if we deserve the trials we’ve been given?  While Mary may have had future knowledge of the prophecies of Jesus’ resurrection, she still lived through those moments, and humanly had to endure the sight.  None of us can even fathom the trial that Mary went through during this time, but we must remember that from the very beginning, she purposed in her heart that she would accept the Lord’s will for her life.  

quote ...we must remember that from the very beginning she purposed in her heart that she would accept the Lord's will for her life

Trials in our life can do one of two things to us.  They can either harden us, which is understandable given our human nature.  They can cause us to question God’s goodness and possibly turn our backs on Him completely.  Or they can soften us.  They can tenderize our selfish hearts.  They can cause us to realize that our human nature will never be sufficient.  2 Corinthians 12:9 “…my grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”.  Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  We rely on ourselves way too much and often forget to include God and His will in our day-to-day lives.  It’s possible that trials are God’s way of reminding us that He’s all we truly need.  

In conclusion, I can’t answer for sure why the Lord allows his children to endure trials of any nature.  I can only attempt to accept his will by allowing trials to soften me rather than harden me.  I can choose to go to Him and His word and remember that everything that happens to me is first ordained by God.  A dear friend of mine said it best when she said this: “Nothing happens to me that isn’t first filtered through the hand of the loving and giving Father” -Jenny Gapuzan.  

I’ll leave you with this, trust God’s plan for your life and remember that He knows best.  Endure the trials as he allows them to occur by relying on His strength and not your own.  And keep eternity in your sights.  Remember, “all things work together for good…” 

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