Reflecting on my walk with God through the course of my life, there have been so many obstacles, hard times, and trouble. As I read God’s Word and interact with God by the Holy Spirit because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am in awe of this amazing relationship.
I think of Psalm 8:4 and say to God, Who am I, that You would be mindful of me? I ponder who am I in times of abundant blessings and in times when I am overwhelmed by His love and presence. However, I find it interesting that the same sentiment does not come when I am in times of trial and difficulty. I truly believe what James 1:2-4 says about trials and their ability to transform my character, build perseverance, and help me to lack nothing. But I cannot seem to find it in me to say, “Who am I, Lord, that You are mindful of me to trust me with this ‘light and momentary trial’ which will indeed produce a harvest in me?” Oh no, that is not at all what comes to my mind. I actually say the typical human response of, “Why me, Lord?” In light of that statement, I am asking myself this question, “Why not me?”
A Glass-half-full Kind of Gal
When I look back over my life, being a bit of a glass-half-full kind of gal, I typically do not see those dark times as dark as they actually felt at the time. Perhaps that’s partially because I am a half-full girl, but I also believe that complete healing can occur in the care of our Lord, and He can lighten up those dark memories. In an objective reflection on my difficult times, I can say that, in those times, sometimes God changed my circumstances, but most of the times the miracle was that the circumstances did not change at all. No—He changed me.
That is the hope of glory: the transformation that God does in us, by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit working in us as we surrender to His hand. We become this beautiful reflection of Christ Jesus’ righteousness. Understand that we are already declared righteous at the point we believe Him and receive Him as our personal payment for our sin. When dark times come, yes, the Enemy of our soul is looking to kill us, steal from us, and destroy us; but what the Enemy means for our harm, God can turn into His glory.
Gosh, I desire to hold tight to the revelation of this truth in those times of darkness. Perhaps that is where the fellowship of sound believers can help. It is good to remember that the biggest miracles that come from our trials is the transformation that occurs within us to produce true glory.
Darkness in my Life
Looking to the darkness in my life, I see redemption and transformation. My darkest times produced a longing and a revealed need for God. Although I may never celebrate the dark times in my life with parties, I can tell you that the outcome has been miraculous. I can celebrate even my darkest failures and sin, for in those times it revealed my inner darkness and my need for my glorious and wonderful Savior.
Some of the darkest times in my life came in my early, arrogant walk with the Lord. I had a list of things I planned to do for God and another list of things I would never do. With the list of accomplishments, I became self-righteous when I measured up to my own list, and I believe my behavior was distasteful to God. With the list of things I would never do, as I found it impossible to keep, the inevitable shame came upon me. Oh, the pain it did produce. Thankfully, God showed me His way through relationship with Him instead of man’s way (my way) of religion through trying to please God. His way was my rescue. And all of that human effort only brought shame or self-righteousness, neither producing the harvest intended by God.
In other times of darkness, the darkness came in the form of pain from others. I had various loved ones who were drowning in addictions. These long years of pain produced a dependence on God for me that I could not have even imagined. It drove a stake deep into my soul that I pray will never be uprooted. This stake is like an anchor to my soul. So how can I look at the years of pain that came from these addictions with disdain or desire that they never happened? For without them, would I have the depth of relationship with the unseen God that I have now if I had been spared the pain?
Then there were the times of darkness that came when my body failed me. I have had injuries and pain from a body that took a beating from me and my active lifestyle. I have injuries and pain from car accidents, diving accidents, skiing accidents, etc. I was a fearless child who repeatedly jumped out of everything I could climb, from my grandmother’s barn loft to tall trees. I was a cheerleader who would think nothing of climbing five-person-high pyramids and jump to the gym floor below. Why? Because I could! I inflicted a life of pain upon myself because I was fearless and adventurous.
There have been times of darkness when bad things just happened, and I experienced pain. My three consecutive miscarriages were very difficult.
While these are just a few of the painful times in my life, no matter the cause, what I see looking back is that each darkness brought me to a place, taught me a truth, or revealed something in me. Each time of darkness, I could have turned to or from God. In the times I turned from Him, I drifted further into darkness. In the times I turned to Him, I was led into the light of His truth and love.
He never left me, He was and is always with me, but I am the variable. I may have turned my eyes away from Him in shame. I may have turned my heart away in hurt. I also many times turned my eyes and heart toward Him. In those times, our relationship grew, and He was able to work in me and through me. He was able to show deep and hidden things about Himself to me. One thing He revealed to me is that He is always there with me. I have to be mindful of Him, because He is very mindful of me!
Who are we that He would be mindful of us? In our darkest times, remember that our trials are light and momentary in light of eternity. So, let us fix our eyes on the unseen things beyond the darkest times.
Thank you to Beverly who generously contributed to the Bible study included in my book Memoirs of a Headcase: Held by the God of Hope.You can discover more about Beverly at https://on-wings-as-eagles.blogspot.com/ where she loves to write about God’s Word and what He is teaching her through it. If you cannot afford a copy of my book , please feel free to download the free Bible study or contact me.
Photo credit: Arti Kh, Chuttersnap, Luis Galvez.