Thankful for Trials and for Their Blessings in Disguise

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Uplifting thoughts about trials we face and their blessings in disguise. Experience God's presence in the midst of troubled times.

Until this year, I had not experienced much suffering in my life. I didn’t have to look for blessings in disguise; my blessings paraded themselves rather boldly.

I remember feeling on many occasions like I was living a “charmed” life. Inexplicably, I was spared any major trials at all. And I was lavished with numerous blessings.

It felt unfair. I saw people all around me experiencing trials; many of those people were walking through multiple fires at one time. But I was completely untouched. I didn’t know why.

It also felt scary. I knew everyone experienced trials. The Bible says that in this world His followers will have tribulation. Where was mine?

What was it going to look like?

How would I handle it?

How painful would it be, exactly?

I knew my turn was coming. I just didn’t know when. And I kind of felt like I deserved an extra dose or two because of my previously unscathed life. When that proverbial “other shoe dropped,” I was certain it would appear in the form of a huge steel-toed workboot…or maybe a 5-inch stiletto heel.

But after this year…

I know.

After our family experienced a cancer diagnosis and unemployment

I know.

I don’t claim to know all of suffering, but I now know it in part. In many ways, it has been the hardest year of my life.

On the other hand, I can tell you with all truth and sincerity it has also been the most joyful year of my life. Because of many blessings in disguise.

Blessings in Disguise

By far, the best of these blessings has been the joy of God’s presence. God is always with me; I’ve never doubted that. But I’ve felt it more keenly and exulted in it more joyously than ever before.

I think this is partly because through suffering, God has revealed idols I had been embracing. Good gifts I was adoring, instead of worshipping the Giver. Things like health, status, income, and friendships.

Things I didn’t mean to grow attached to; it just…happened. And when those things went alway, God revealed to me just how dependent on them I had become.

I still loved God. But it turns out there were an awful lot of “vain things that charmed me most.” Things I hadn’t yet “sacrificed to His blood.” Things I clung to, hoping and praying that when those inevitable trials came, I would be allowed to keep clutching them.

But God loves me more than that.

He loves me more than to allow me to continue clinging desperately to gifts, growing more and more attached to them, when I can embrace the Giver Himself.

He loves me more than to allow me to cling to substitutes for Him.

He wants me to have the real thing. He died so I could have the real thing.

And so, He pried my grasping fingers from the substitutes, and then held my hand in His own. And when I began to realize just how idolatrous my heart had become, and allowed His conviction to bring about repentance…well, that changed everything.

Because then He turned my unfaithful heart back to Himself. And I began to encounter Him once again. Which is what I’ve been needing all along, with or without the trials.

So what now?

Now I’m left with overwhelming joy and gratitude that my God loves me so much that He won’t allow anything in the way of our love relationship.

I am thankful for the trials I’ve faced this year. As I grow to know Him more and love Him better, I can tell you with certainty that it has been beyond worth it.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss

because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish,

in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…”

Philippians 3:8

~~

Want to know more about our family’s experience with times of trial? Here are more popular related posts:

Unwrapping A Trial

What Does Grace Look Like?

How Delivered Me From All My Fears

Uplifting thoughts about trials we face and their blessings in disguise. Experience God's presence in the midst of troubled times.

How have you experienced Christ’s presence in the midst of a trial? I would love for you to take a moment and encourage me and other readers by leaving your testimony below.

 

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11 Replies to “Thankful for Trials and for Their Blessings in Disguise”

  1. Gilana

    I cannot attest to this fact any more than I do right now. I am going through an extremely tumultuous time at the moment, but I would not trade it for anything. The closeness and faith that I feel towards my Savior Jesus is more intense than ever. My heart is desiring a blessing from Him, and even if I do not receive it, it’s really all worth it because I feel so close to Him.
    My heart feels the blessing coming, and I am so grateful. If anyone has ever felt this way, please say so! I had to share…Blessings to all!!!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      What a blessing to hear this testimony of God’s grace to you during this time of trial, Gilana! Thank you for sharing of God’s particularly close presence in your life right now. Have you heard the song “Never Once” by Matt Redman? I think you will find it to be a tremendous blessing. I can’t listen to it without tears of gratitude and joy for my Savior’s faithfulness. Thank you for reading, and for sharing from your heart.

      Reply
  2. Alice

    Thank you Lord for EVERYTHING! But most of all, my wonderful credlhin who never make me feel bad for who I am and how I look. Thank you Lord for my job, that doesn’t discriminate fat people, but instead looks at how hard we work, even though we’re big. Thank you Lord for everything materialistic you give me, everything I need, and little by little, thank you Lord for sending me everything I want! Thank you Lord for Chanda, she’s amazing and inspiring. Continue providing your love and wisdom and many more blessings on her journey, thus inspiring the rest of us! Love you Lord!! Love you Chanda don’t know you personally, but on here, I feel like I’ve made a great friend!! <3

    Reply
  3. Lauryn

    For the past ten–almost eleven–years, my family has been going through health challenges. It turns out that my sister and I had had an allergic reaction to something in the chicken pox vaccines we got as babies. I developed pettimal seizures and later my sister developed grandmals. My sister’s seizures stopped on 7/7/07. Then, this past year, they came back, along with some pettimals of her own. My sister, who will turn 11 on 11/05 has had to go through watching these and growing up too fast, watching out for us.
    However, through this our family has grown closer and stronger in our faith, we have learned that kids aren’t always mean to “different kids”. We have also learned to be thankful for what we have. Much of our life has felt like the song “Freefall” by Royal Tailor. (If you haven’t heard it, I encourage you to look it up. It’s good.)

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Thank you for sharing part of your story here, Lauryn, and especially for the way you exemplify one who is looking for blessings in disguise. I will take some time before sleep tonight to pray for you and your family – for God’s continued sustenance in your lives, for His healing, and for Him to keep on proving to you that His grace is always, always enough.

      Reply
  4. Darla Watson

    It’s funny that I found this post almost three years after you shared it…but as we know God’s timing is PERFECT! You seemed to be describing my life in so many ways….I have been blessed by your sharing! I needed this to truly see myself. I had never thought of my “charmed life” as an idol!! I too had experienced no major trials and felt a bit confused by it…did God really love me? I had become stagnant in my growth, my prayer life and bible study was sporadic, we weren’t attending church regularly or at all….but then came that TRIAL…a prodigal child. Through my heartbreak God has shown me His love, He has drawn me and my family back to Him. I am in church again, in a home group, I’ve found places to serve and I am finding joy in my trials. I do not know if I will ever see, speak or have a relationship with my prodigal child again (I pray that I will), but I know that I have a God who is bigger than my trials and He will sustain me. I see my other children in their times of trial and can tell them to TAKE IT TO GOD and TRUST HIM! Your words made clear to me emotions that I have been feeling and not understanding and shown me that my heart, too was idolatrous. I had forgotten the words “vain things that charmed me most” from a favorite old hymn that help me stay on track!! Thank you so much for sharing!! I will pray for you, your family and your ministry! GOD is indeed GOOD!!!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      What a beautiful testimony, Darla! Your words have been a tremendous encouragement to me today. I’m so glad this post resonated with you and has blessed you. I will pray for you and for your prodigal child – I’ve seen many, many of these loved ones return to the Lord and return to their families after a season of wandering, so take heart! God is working, whether or not you can see it at any given moment. Thank you so much for taking the time to share here! Blessings!

      Reply
  5. Tona

    I recently received a rare diagnosis that basically means I am at higher risks for a stroke. I am for the most part a healthy individual but I received this diagnosis. What I am learning daily is to trust Him, trust his plan, and worship continuously throughout this process.

    Reply
  6. Heather Hart

    My life has had plenty of hardships, and God has used each and every one to draw me closer to Him. Whether they pushed me into His Word, or He gave me a peace and strength I could never have imagined, God has always been there. So thankful for Him.

    Reply

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