I am sitting here writing this blog post and I have no idea if I will have a roof over my head next week or if I’ll make it to next month or if the end of this year will find me in a better place than the beginning did. I don’t know this physically because all facts point to the negative. This season of trial has stretched since 2017 and now, two years in, I don’t have the strength anymore. It has been looooong!!! I feel like I have trekked through the valley, climbed the mountain, survived the desert and just stepped into a forest only for it to catch fire. I am not equipped for this. Has anyone else ever felt like that? Like you thought it would be over, there would be answers, the point would have been made? And yet it not only is still going on, it is worse than before? Have you wondered why you even bothered waiting or praying or believing if this is how it would end up? Then this post is for you.
As I pray and fast I have been learning a few things about the season of extended trial that I want to share:
1. Building, not breaking:
There are moments when you are that what you are going through going to break you, in fact you are sure it already has. Yet the very chipping away that is happening is creating a new you, a better you, and not breaking you. After a few months fighting the struggle, then another few weeks avoiding it, you learn to face it. That moment when you face the struggle and open your eyes in the storm is the moment when you character begins to grow. You start to develop a new layer of yourself and you mature from who you were to who you need to be for the next phase of life.
The trial is to build character which often involves chipping away at bad habits, weak arguments and lazy thinking. The process feels like you yourself are breaking yet you are being built into a better version that can withstand a new season.
2. Refining, not consuming, fire:
We have all heard of refiner’s fire and we hear about the process gold goes through to become the illustrious gold we buy in the market. But when the same principle applies in our life, we shy away from the fire and instead opt to remain in ore form. The fire is hot and truth is it gets hotter before God can let you out; pure and refined. With each season in life, new grace, strength and values are needed. Often times we ask God to prepare us for a new season or we ask for certain blessings and yet when He starts prepping us, we think he is trying to consume us.
There are so many times I have prayed, “God if you wanted to kill me you should have just snapped your fingers and not made me go through this long drawn out process.” Yet the sun rises and I realize that I survived the previous day and now I know how to deal with days like that without becoming a little monster. That is what refinement means; burning away the darkness and bringing forth the light within.
“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.”~Apostle Paul , Romans 5:3-5
3. Resistance for resilience:
The bible says that God withholds no good things from those he loves and yet I am sure we can all name at least one thing we think God has withheld from us. And many people try to say that maybe you didn’t have enough faith or you were being selfish in your asking but I disagree. I think sometimes the resistance we meet, is for strength training. It’s like when you work out and you start with body weight and then you use resistance bands and you gradually work through different weights and sets and combinations until you feel you are as strong as you need to be.
The trial season is also like that; the resistance you feel either in the spiritual world or even from God Himself is to build your resilience, your strength and your perseverance. You will need that resilience for the next season and God knows that if he lets you have the blessing without the preparation, you will crush and burn.
4. Blind obedience is a trust exercise, not a sadistic game:
If you have stepped forth in faith and then felt like you were left high, dry and battered by the wind, you know why I said sadistic game. Sometimes it feels like God shows you an opportunity, calls you to a certain thing and then… nothing. You can hear the crickets chirping and the silence as you wait for the punch line. You start to feel like God is playing a game with your expectations, your faith and your hope.
This of course stems from the fact that human beings do that to each other all the time so we think God is the same. Yet He says to trust Him. How will you trust Him if the safety net is there? How will you be a champion swimmer with floaters still on? The trust exercise is the most common one in seasons of trial. You have to let go of the rail and lose sight of the shore in order to say you trust your instructor or your captain. God wants your trust and he wants to grow your faith by pushing the limits of your trust. He isn’t playing you.
5. Faith is a practice, not a saying:
All these points tie into this one. I realized that often times we sing ‘I surrender’ or ‘I give myself away’ or ‘Withholding nothing.’ or ‘spirit lead me where my trust is without borders’ just to sing. We never really pay mind to what those words mean. The only way God will grow you is through the trial. The only way God will build you is through the struggle. The only way to get better is to go through it.
Faith is not about saying how you beleive in God or His promises it is about living as if you believe in God and His promises. Faith is about looking like a fool and living like the impossible is an everyday occurrence for you. The fire is meant to not only test you, but remind you that there is another in the fire with you and His face is like the Son of God. That is how faith grows, in action.
So as you go through what you are going through, as you fervently pray for a breakthrough, as you fight those spiritual battles, as you wait for the answer remember that this is for your good. Remember, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
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Love and light to you,