Many of you graciously communicated with me about a post I wrote entitled Unwrapping a Trial. You shared wonderful insights and encouragement, and I’m so grateful for your willingness to convey your hearts on the difficult subject of trials.
After reading your comments, I want to clarify something about my intention behind that post, and then branch out to a relevant topic.
My point in the previous post wasn’t to make a blanket statement about all trials, but to share my experience with A trial, and consider with you whether there were some important lessons to apply in some trials.
I want to make it absolutely crystal-clear that not every trial is a gift in disguise. Some trials are just…trials, nothing more and nothing less. There are certainly gifts of grace in every trial; but I don’t want to imply that every trial is really a gift in disguise, if we could just be “spiritual” enough to view it that way.
Because that sounds a lot like denial to me. Perhaps with hefty dose of “positive thinking” jargon mixed in. There’s no way we can ever muster up enough feel-good thoughts to make a trial disappear. It’s an impossibility.
In my own specific circumstance, God showed me that my fleshly thinking and sinful desires created a trial where there really wasn’t one. Or at the very least, they inflated a minor trial into a major one. I suspect this happens more often than I would’ve thought; but it certainly doesn’t happen every time we find ourselves in the fire.
I would never want to encourage you to deny the pain of a trial. In fact, just the opposite…
How many times has someone asked you about a hard time you’re experiencing, and you’ve replied with, “Oh, I’m okay. It’s really not that bad. It could be so much worse.” And all the while you’re holding back tears that would reveal just how much you’re hurting?
I have said similar words many times. And in a sense, they’re true. I think it’s sometimes even healthy to realize things could be worse, and that there are still pockets of blessing in the midst of a trial.
But I think we have to guard carefully against falsely minimizing our trials.
Let me explain: Telling myself “It’s really not that bad,” can help me put things into perspective. It can serve to remind me that God still loves me, His hand is still on me, and He is still with me.
But sometimes, telling others “It’s really not that bad,” can be an attempt to maintain the appearance of “having it all together.” Essentially, it can be an indication of pride.
I wonder what comfort we deny ourselves by trying to maintain a strong, controlled, “brave face.”
What if we were real with each other about the heartache we experience, and allowed others to come alongside us and encourage us?
How much comfort would we enjoy?
How many prayers could be offered on our behalf?
How many relationships would deepen, instead of remaining at the surface?
If only we were being real…
Because here’s the truth: Experiencing pain doesn’t indicate a lack of faith. And neither does showing pain.
I think sometimes we feel like people who see our pain will think we’re weak. What we forget is that there’s a good chance they’re hiding behind their own mask, too.
And here’s something even more important: When we minimize our trials, we minimize the glory God receives when He brings victory.
After all, if the trial “isn’t really that bad”, how can the victory really be that good?
If the heartache isn’t devastating, how can His restoration be exhilarating?
If the pain isn’t excruciating, how can His healing be amazing?
Let’s put down the masks and start being real — for our good. For the good of others. And for the glory of our Savior, Who WILL bring victory.
I would love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment on being real below.
Want a breath of fresh air in the midst of your trial? This amazing book, written by Billy Graham’s grandson, has challenged and refreshed my perspective on trials.
Written by Jennifer Clarke