Monday, January 11, 2016

The Daniel Fast Day 9: The Gift of Trials

We have all had trials.
It is part of the human experience.
If you live very long,
you will have trial.  

In the book of James,
James tells us that we are to consider them pure joy.
Pure Joy.

I can remember when I first came across this verse.
I was ill at the time and my life was a mess.
I remember thinking,
Really LORD?
Pure Joy?
These trials,
the ones I have lived through
up to this point...
all pure joy?

Then I felt a rush come over my heart.
I recognize it now as faith welling in my heart
to believe exactly what James was saying here.
So I did. 
I just believed that I was to consider the illness
I was facing,
the divorce I was going through,
and the loss of so much in my life,
pure joy,
because it was producing perseverance in my life,
and when that was complete,
I would be full, complete,
lacking nothing.

But what I have come to see through the years 
is that it is a process.
I didn't get there over night.
God was and is teaching me so much.

In 1986, on April 10,
my sister Dana was killed in a motorcycle accident.
She was 18.
Just 5 weeks from graduating high school.
It was, to say the least, devastating.
Three months later on July 8th,
my husband was electrocuted on the job.
We had been married almost 8 months.
I was 19.
He was 22.
It was the biggest trial I had ever been through
in my young years, and I had NO idea how to cope
or deal with it.  
Unfortunately, I did not turn to God,
I ran away from Him.
I was so angry.
I was so hurt.
I was devastated.

It would be many, many years,
before I would truly grieve their loss.
I stuffed it, for the most part.
Yes, there is a certain amount of grieving that 
has to be done right away,
but the part of if that needs to be dealt
with day by day,
I stuffed, suppressed, didn't want to deal with,
and as a result, I no longer trusted.
I thought if I got close to anyone
they would leave me.

It was very hard.

When I came back to the LORD,
ten years after that happened,
He helped me to understand so much more than
I ever could have then.
There are things I will never understand
this side of heaven,
but I don't question them anymore. 
I trust God.
I know that the trials of that time,
and all the ones since that time,
God has worked for good in my life.
He has helped me to be able to consider them pure joy 
in the midst of raw pain.
He has taken that which should have destroyed me,
and turned it for my good,
because He is good.
Always good.
And that is what He does.

Whatever trial you are facing, 
take heart.
God is with you.
He will NEVER leave you 
nor forsake you.

Go to Him child.
Let Him heal your hurting soul.
He is your ever-present help.
Let Him lift you up.

He wants to do a deep work in your soul.
As you fast, give Him that permission.
Take the time.
Let Him help you.
It is hard.
Very hard.
But what God has done in my life 
in the twenty years since I came back to Him
is nothing short of miraculous.
I am not at all the same person.
Don't feel the same,
act the same,
or even look the same.

He has taken a very broken girl,
and given her the courage to dream again,
Things that will only be done in her life
as she trusts Him.
It is simply amazing!

He truly makes all things new.

I love you so!

In Christ alone,