Unwrapping a Trial: Encouragement for Trials

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Powerful words of encouragement for trials. When we experience trials, seeing our circumstances from God's perspective can bring peace and hope.

My husband has been unemployed for several weeks.

It has been one of the most challenging times of our lives, causing us to ask a lot of questions – questions that have easy answers when life is good and things are fine and all is well.

But the answers come harder when times are tough and the future is uncertain and we just don’t know what comes next.

Who are we, exactly?

What do we value?

What constitutes our value?

Where does our trust lie?

Who are our friends?

Who are our enemies?

What is important?

For the first few weeks, I approached this season as a trial.

I searched the Scriptures for guidance, searching for words of encouragement for troubled times, seeking to always grasp the hand of the One who was allowing this season of difficulty.

Trusting Him to use it in our lives – somehow…for our good. And somehow…for His glory.

Believing in His faithful provision for us, His children, now and forevermore.

Praying for God’s will to be accomplished in us and through us, and letting our Master know we were willing to take whatever step He wanted us to take next, in His time.

And to (try to) wait patiently until He showed us what that looked like.

It was a trial. That was one thing I didn’t question.

But one day as I rocked on my front porch and gazed on the mountains which I love and pondered my Master Whom I so love, He brought this little phrase to my mind. Perhaps you’ll recognize it:

Give us this day our daily bread…”

I had my daily bread. In fact, if I applied this verse literally in reference to enough food for our household for one day, I had dozens of days’ worth of “bread” in my pantry, cabinets, refrigerator, and freezers.

Even if I applied the term broadly, to include all our household needs and bills for one day, we had (by God’s grace) an emergency system in place that would provide for these needs for multiple dozens of days.

No matter how I defined it, my Savior had already provided for us far beyond what I deserve and far beyond what I had any right to expect. And I called my husband’s unemployment a trial? I had to ask myself: What if…?

What if my husband’s time at home wasn’t a trial at all, but rather a remarkable gift for our family?

What if many weeks of having him with us was actually an extended vacation, a time to bring enjoyment and enhance our family bond?

What if my use of the word “trial” in defining this period in our lives made me into a spoiled child who receives a carefully chosen gift from her loving Parent, only to open it and cast it aside disgustedly, proclaiming it to be not what she wanted at all and may she please have another?

What if this space of time was only a “trial” of my own making – because I was too wrapped up in my temporal, fleshly perspective to consider for even a moment how my Master viewed my life?

What if I had exchanged God’s definition of “daily bread” for an alluring but oh-so-deceptive worldly substitute: security in circumstance?

I wasn’t content with God’s liberal provision of daily bread. I wanted my husband to have a job that would promise our own version of daily bread indefinitely. And when that worldly desire wasn’t met, I created a trial for myself.

It makes me wonder…

How many other things have I thought I knew, never even questioning, that I got so completely wrong because I never even tried to see them the way He does?

How many trials have I created for myself simply by not having His perspective, and not bothering to seek it?

How about you? How has God helped you “unwrap” a trial to discover a beautiful, unexpected gift tucked secretly inside? I would love you hear your story. Please feel free to share below.

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Want to know more about times of trial and blessings in disguise? You’ll love these top posts:

Thankful for Trials and Their Blessings in Disguise

Thorn or Gift?

Healing in the Wounds

Powerful words of encouragement for trials. When we experience trials, seeing our circumstances from God's perspective can bring peace and hope.

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21 Replies to “Unwrapping a Trial: Encouragement for Trials”

  1. Renee

    It’s amazing what He reveals to us when we are still and listen to that still, small Voice. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      You’re right, Renee! And the beautiful thing is, He never, ever has to. He’s just so kind to us. Thank you for reading, and for taking the time to share your thought!

      Reply
  2. Donna Ramsey

    Jennifer,
    It is often through our trials that God does His greatest work. I speak from experience. When I look back on the dark clouds and uncertainties in my life, God was faithful to bring a beautiful rainbow. He hears our prayers and will provide! ~ Donna

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Hi, Donna!
      Thank you so much for this encouragement. I can already testify to the truth of your words, even though I’m still in the midst of what one could call a trial. He has brought such beautiful rainbows already — a heightened sense of His presence being the best one of all. I truly appreciate your taking the time to read and to leave me this sweet note!

      Reply
  3. Kathy

    I am going through my own trial right now… and I have not thought of it in any other way except a trial. Thank you for this encouragement to look at it from another perspective. I will let you know what the Lord shows me and what I learn from it. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Hello, dear Kathy!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and then the extra time to share your thoughts. In case my post was unclear, I want to clarify that some trials are just that — trials. Unquestionably, unequivocally, undoubtedly — they hurt and devastate us and cause heartache, even when we’re seeing it from God’s perspective. I hope my post didn’t imply that every situation we perceive as a trial is really a gift, if we’re only “holy” or “spiritual” enough to see it that way. I believe there are gifts of grace in every trial — many of the promises we find in God’s Word are examples of those gifts of grace in trials. But not every trial is one of our making. My post was intended to point out that some trials are ones we create for ourselves by our own sinful sense of entitlement, and/or our worldly perspective which is often spoiled by our culture’s influence. But that’s definitely not the case with every trial, and I want to be certain that this important point isn’t misunderstood.
      I love you, and I will keep your family in my fervent prayers.
      Thank you again for reading, and for sharing!

      Reply
  4. Sybil Brun

    Hi! I just found you through my blog, She Lives Free and am so glad I did! We have much in common and I have walked the very same road you are on right now – it was one of many scary, challenging seasons in this life so far – but OH the blessings that were ultimately revealed! So happy to see you have your eyes cast on your Savior and are keeping them there! Have you heard of the song, Oceans? It might be a comfort and encouragement to you right now. Best wishes & prayers! Love, Sybil

    Reply
    • Jennifer Post author

      Hi, Sybil! Thank you for stopping by, and for taking the time to leave this kind word of encouragement! I haven’t heard that song, but I will check it out. Thank you for the suggestion! Music is a powerful influence in my life; it has been one of the tools God uses to stay my focus on Him. I’m grateful for your testimony, and for your prayers!

      Reply
  5. Leah McLean

    This word is definitely for me! Thank you for reminding me to be encouraged in Jesus Christ and to count my blessings one-by-one – because now I can see I am far blessed beyond words!! Amen!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Praise the Lord! This was not an easy lesson for me to learn, but I’m so grateful God loves us enough to teach valuable lessons such as this one. My sense of what I “deserve” or the way my life “should be” is often warped by our culture and by my own sinful flesh. Praise God for His Word, which refocuses our minds and our hearts on truth, as we study it and meditate on it. I truly thank you for reading, and for sharing!

      Reply
  6. Sheila Baughan

    Excellent perspective! Thank you so much for your thoughts! We too have come to see things this way in situations in our lives that the Lord wants us to have. Perspective is everything I have found out. God Bless!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Thank you for sharing the wisdom of your experience, Sheila! I agree that a God-centered perspective is a critical aspect of having the mind of Christ. Any perspective that doesn’t start and end with God is fundamentally flawed; may He continually refine us and draw our focus toward Him! Thank you for reading, and for sharing your heart!

      Reply
  7. Debbie

    I follow your post on pinterest and decided to come to your website. As many others including yourself have gone through many valleys, I have been going through so many the past 5 years. I have my husband with advanced prostrate cancer, my youngest son with Chron’s disease and Hep. C and my only sibling with Type 1 diabetes, leg amputated and now spots on his lungs. I need encouragement from other believer’s as I have to admit find myself sobbing all the time. I would ask for prayer for my loved ones. Thank you for all your encouraging words on your web site and pintrest. I am sure you in your faithfulness have touched many others as you have me. God Bless you and yours always. I claim Victory in Jesus over these illnesses.

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Oh, Debbie, I’m so sorry you’re experiencing so many hard trials right now. I just took some time to pray for you and for your sick family members — I asked God for healing and for comfort, and that He would make His presence particularly clear and tender for you all. I will continue to lift you all in prayer as the Lord brings you to mind. I don’t know why you’re experiencing such hardship; but I do know that God invites you to cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you (I Peter 5:7). He will strengthen you, and help you, and hold you in His hand (Isaiah 41:10). I pray fervently that you would experience the truth of these promises every single day.

      Reply
  8. Angela Randall

    Thank you for this… I am in the middle of what feels like brutal trials and I feel exhausted!!! The answer is HIM… I know it’s always Him, but this post just helped me remember that 🙂 🙂

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re struggling right now, Angela. I just prayed that you would sense God’s presence in a particularly special way during your trials, and that He would provide for your every need. God doesn’t cause every trial, but He never, ever wastes one, as we yield ourselves to Him. It sounds like your faith is strong, and I pray it increases even more as you see God sustaining you in such hard times. Blessings!

      Reply
      • Angela Randall

        Thank you. I so appreciate your encouragement and prayer. My husband of a good number of years has had numerous affairs and I have always forgiven him and resumed our marriage. I have lost count of how many there have been – but I know of at least a dozen. He has started a new one, as of about a month ago. Today I left him. Not in defeat… but rather I left him in God’s Hands and prayed, as I have for so long, that God could turn him into a man after His own Heart. My decision is not to divorce – because I’m taking my vows before the Lord seriously… but in my heart of hearts, I know this is the right answer for now. I have agonised over this for years in prayer, as well as having faithful sisters in the Lord pray for me too. He has turned from God completely. I am choosing to trust Him and be faithful in church and in my life, as best as I know how to be. It’s painful… but even that, I feel the Lord cushion the blow for me. I have peace about my decision and have been able to be decisive in my actions too… and it was never like that before. I was always so afraid of displeasing God that I never took any action. I could never really confront the situation because I was afraid of angering God. I am choosing God – and to honour Him… please pray for me 🙂

        Reply
        • Jennifer Clarke Post author

          Thank you for sharing a bit more about this time of trial in your life, Angela. Though it pains me to read of your heartache, it encourages me to see God leading you and keeping you close to Himself. It sounds like you have some good friends and prayer warriors who are laboring with you in prayer. That’s where this battle will be won! I just took some time to pray for God’s continued guidance in your life, and for His provision and peace that passes all understanding. I also prayed for your husband — that God’s Spirit would reveal his sin, bringing about a brokenness that would lead to repentance. I pray for the restoration of your marriage, that all who witness it would be amazed by the redeeming, resurrecting, restoring power of our God. Until then, I’m asking God to keep your gaze fixed on Him, that nothing would sway your strong faith and devoted love for God. He didn’t cause this time of trial, but I’m confident that He won’t waste it, as you remain yielded to Him. (Hugs!)

          Reply
  9. Lisa

    We too are currently going through the same “gift” and I’m curious as to how you’re fairing now in 2015?

    Reply
    • Jennifer Clarke Post author

      Hi, Lisa, and welcome! You’ve asked a great question. To be honest, things have not been very stable financially even though many months have passed since I wrote this post. We’re also once again facing another time of transition with my husband’s employment. Sometimes I really want to worry. Sometimes I’m tempted to take things into my own hands. But I keep coming back to the fact that we’ve always had enough. I’m not even sure how, because on paper, the numbers aren’t in our favor. Yet I can’t deny that we’ve never lacked for anything.

      I just took some time to pray for you and your family, asking God for His perfect provision for you and that He would grow your trust in Him during this season. Thanks so much for reading, and for checking on us! 🙂

      Reply
  10. Joe from Imperfect Disciples

    This is a tough lesson. I’m hoping we’ll be able to get through the next 2 months until we get out tax return and hopefully it’s as big as we’re predicting so we can get through several more months after that. It’s tough to trust God to get us through when he’s giving us such a narrow margin.

    I lost my job at the end of July and God has been good enough to help us squeak by up until now on savings and some minor income dropping in as we try to establish our blog at imperfectdisciples.com. When I lost my job, we immediately viewed it as an opportunity to try blogging full time as a ministry, but I’ve become disappointed with the amount of growth we’ve seen so far. Because of this I’ve begun seeing it more as a trial and I’ve begun worrying about what we should do. Thanks to you and this post, I think I’ll begin changing my perspective back to one of gratitude for the opportunity to be working from home and serving him through our blog.

    Thank you.

    Reply

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