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Focus: An example of enduring love
Psalm 138:2 (NIV) I will bow down toward Your holy temple and will praise Your Name for Your unfailing love and Your faithfulness, for You have so exalted Your solemn decree that it surpasses Your fame.
As you face challenges you never thought you’d have to deal with, you find out what you’re made of.
Starting out in life, you think you know exactly who you are and what you are, but a little further down the road—things change. When trials come—you have to change. When many trials come—one right after another—you might totally lose track of who you were and what you were…if you ever were who you thought, and what you thought you were in the first place. After a bunch of trials hit, you might not be too sure about much of anything.
Sometimes it seems like your trials are worse than anybody else’s. And it also might seem like you have more of them than other people. And maybe you do.
When you’re in a trial and someone tries to encourage you who has never had to struggle in the area you’re struggling, it might be hard for you to get much hope from them. You can look into their eyes and wonder how they could have any idea what you’re going through. You can listen to what they’re saying and wonder how they think they know anything about your problems. On one of your worst days, you might even resent them trying. How is it that they are able to tell you everything is going to be alright?
When you’re up to your eyeballs in trials and you’re bombarded on all sides, who cares that your trials will all turn to ‘gold’ someday? All you’re interested in is getting past them.
At every stage of life, the trials are different. There is no way to anticipate what kind of trials you’ll be faced with next—or the effect your trials will have on you.
These days, I’m trying hard not to say, “I know exactly what you’re going through.” I have said it, don’t get me wrong, but I’m trying to learn not to say that because none of us knows exactly what a trial could be like for another person. Even if we think we know—we really don’t need to say we do. Most of the time it doesn’t have a positive effect. A person who is in an extremely difficult place usually has a hard time processing the fact that someone else has it as bad as they do.
Truthfully, the only one really entitled to say they know exactly what a person is going through—would be Jesus. The Bible says He was tested in all points as we are.
James 1:12 (paraphrased) says, “Blessed is a man (or woman) who perseveres under trial; for once he (or she) has been approved, he (or she) will receive the crown of life, which [the Lord] has promised to those who love Him.”
Romans 8:35-39 (NASB) gives us some more insight. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
But aside from Jesus, it takes an extraordinary person to go through unusual testing without becoming bitter or resentful–yet, some people are able to. Those people are the ones who become kinder and more tender as the years go by. We’ve all met older people who are loving and compassionate—and others who are selfish and mean.
What we do with our trials determines what kind of an older person we will be someday. People who have been bitter and resentful throughout their lives can suddenly turn a corner and become sweet and wonderful, if they have a life changing experience with the Lord. However, another way a person loses all their rough edges—is by allowing the love of the Lord to shape them through their trials—into a person who is an example of love and grace.
A person who has faithfully persevered is like a lighthouse to some of us who might find it an effort to continue putting one foot in front of the other in the dark places.
Declaration: I will find new strength by giving more thought toward who I am becoming and how I will finish this life. I will try to go through my trials with ‘enduring love’ in mind, so that I would be an encouragement to others.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.