One never knows what he or she will be called to face on any given day. Whether it is a trial that bears our name, circumstances that endeavor to engulf us in fear, or a sickness that leaves a powerful mark, God is fully aware and completely in control of all that comes our way. Nothing will ever happen to us apart from God’s ordering it or allowing it.
I had come home to Alabama to visit for a few days to work and to spend time with family. My staycation was much needed, and I adored my time significantly. I enjoyed cooking those Southern dishes, visiting with my adult babies, and making memories with my grandchildren that I will cherish for a life-time. Yet as it all came to a close, my health began to be somewhat disturbed.
After returning home to Texas, I continued to feel poorly. As the days progressed, so did the decline of my health. Exhaustion overtook me in a way I can’t explain, affecting my legs, arms, and my entire body, landing me in a bed for weeks. “You have an infection,” stated the doctor. However, what kind of infection no one knew. So, bed rest was ordered, along with the consumption of fluids.
‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NASB
One evening as I lay in the emergency room preparing for a spinal tap due to a stiff neck that had developed through this sickness, I received a text from my daughter-in-law with the Scripture passage (Isaiah 41:10.) The text stated: “You sent me this the other day and it’s so fitting for the situation. Don’t be nervous. Prayers.” I found myself reciting Isaiah 41:10 over and over as I awaited both test procedures and test results.
Do not fear…. Throughout this sickness, God has kept fear from overtaking my heart. I am under His watchful eye, His Fatherly care, and His unconditional love. He will not allow anything to touch my life that He has not first approved.
For I am with you…. I have never felt the presence of the Lord in my life as I have through this difficult period. His love has overtaken me, His peace has ruled me, His grace has sustained me, and His joy has kept me.
God has most definitely strengthened me, helped me, and is upholding me with His righteous right hand. He has rekindled a love in my heart for Himself, for prayer, and for His Word. The Lord has changed my heart in a way I can’t explain. And I praise Him!
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5 NASB
Notice: Tribulation brings perseverance. Perseverance brings proven character. Proven character brings hope. And we are told that hope does not disappoint!
Our tribulation will bring more than just the trial’s hardships. Through Christ, it will bring lasting change.
When we go through testing times and trials, we will be affected one way or the other. We will either come out on the other side, better from what the Lord has taught us through the trial or bitter from having to go through it. We will be joyful in the midst of dire circumstances or discouraged by all that has taken place. We will either be altered by the trial itself or transformed by the Spirit of God.
I have learned the following truths during trying situations:
- It’s about the Lord, His glory, His purpose, His plan. When I make the trial about myself, my focus has been skewed. Discouragement will come and I will miss various lessons God wants to entrust to my life.
- He is trustworthy. Even though I may not understand what is happening, I know He does, and I trust Him in it, through it, and with it.
- He has a purpose for this trial. God has a purpose for everything we go through. Therefore, we must let Him have His perfect work through it, learning the lessons He wants to teach us while experiencing the blessings He brings in the midst of it.
- The trial will produce what God calls within our lives. Once again, tribulation brings perseverance. Perseverance brings proven character. Proven character brings hope. And we are told that hope does not disappoint!
The trial will bring forth a changed heart, resulting in a changed life.
I will never be the same because of the Lord’s work through this recent trial. He has done something in my heart that I can’t explain, and I praise Him for it. In moving forward, I never again want to face any trial without the Lord and without submitting myself under His Lordship to learn all that He wants to teach me through it. Don’t let your trial be wasted.
Instead of allowing the trial to mold you, let the Spirit of God transform you through it.
About the Writer:
O’Shea is the mother of two and nana of five and enjoys both roles tremendously. She is the Executive Director of Entrusted Hope Ministries where she loves serving through speaking and blogging. A member of First Baptist Church, Dallas, O’Shea serves with the church’s First Impressions ministry and teaches the Strong & Courageous Sunday School class for single moms. Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi; her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and is currently working on her D.Ed.Min at Southwestern in Family Ministries.