When I was studying psychology, I was required to read M Scott Peck’s “The Road Less Travelled.” It was a secular book but I will always remember the opening sentence which said something like, “Life is painful. When you accept that, then you can start living in joy!” It was a sentence that says it all I believe. Life is a struggle. Even life as a Christian. If we deny the pain or not try to cast it on God, we can miss great lessons from the Master. I know in my life some of the darkest and longest trials have served to make me a stronger person. I can identify with another’s pain and therefore I pray with feeling, with compassion and with understanding. I learn how to pray for help from the LORD and I can see His Hand at work in my life and the life of others after the event, if not during.
Learning to cast your cares on God is often a slow practice and it comes from years of relinquishing control of your life and realising that only God can control an outcome that is causing us concern or pain. It results in the peace of trusting Him to act out His perfect Will in our lives and then learning to accept it. It is at times extremely difficult to put into practice. This relinquishing of control and learning to trust God to know what is best in my circumstances and to trust Him to do it for me has taken years. But after reflecting on the outcomes of many difficult circumstances and trials where I could not see or feel God’s presence or leading, I have come to the conclusion that He has worked all things out for my own good.
One way that helped me to realise that God had indeed answered my prayers or delivered me safely through a trial or grief was to keep a prayer journal. I wrote everything down. Every prayer, every fear. And I recorded all events. Over the years, a pattern of God’s faithfulness and deliverance was seen. This encouraged me immensely and helped me trust Him more as further trials overtook me- trials of health, marriage problems, financial problems and problems with my children. We have to learn to walk by faith and not by sight. God loves us too much to allow us to walk a boring path of constantly granted wishes with no challenges or hardship! It is only through the path of faith in life with all its attendant worries and challenges that true strength and faith in God can be found.
It is imperative that we purposefully and deliberately relinquish trying to control our life and put our faith in God by praying in earnest supplication – and then to leave God to work it out! It takes courage, humility and strength. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of time to be able to actually get to the point where you can pray and give it to the Father to oversee. But really, what other choice do we have? If we say we believe in God’s goodness and love for us but don’t trust Him in our trials, how can we be true to ourselves or Him? How can we know the wonder of feeling God’s hedge of protection around us, His mighty Love enveloping us during trials or feel the same love and awe at His depth of compassion towards us- if we don’t put our money where our mouth is? Or in this case, our faith where our mouth is! .
No trial is joyous at the time- but the benefits of facing up to them and running to the LORD with them far outweigh the negatives. For by denying God the time to work in our lives, and to not lay our problems and cares before Him, we are actually denying Him the ability to bring beauty out of ashes. What have we got to lose? We have so much to gain! He has been our King of Glory: let Him be our Prince of Peace!
© Glenys Robyn Hicks
For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.' Isaiah 41:13