The Waiting Part
Waiting on God to fulfill His promise is something that all Christians will go through during our time here on Earth. At times, the waiting can seem not long at all; especially when God comes through on a promise quickly. There may have been a little time of suspense when you are not quite sure if He is going to come through. Then all of a sudden—bam! God made a way and we can sing our songs of praise and life is wonderful again. But a funny thing happens the longer you walk with the Lord. The trials start to get harder and the times between the spoken deliverance and the manifestation of the promise start to get longer. This is when the hard part starts. Welcome to what I like to call the fellowship of His sufferings.
Buried In The Dirt
Psalm 119:49-50 NKJV says “Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.” Christian suffering can take many different forms. God can use divorce, job loss, rebellious children, and any number of things to 1) develop you into the image of Christ, 2) have everything work out for His glory and 3) deepen your faith and cause you to be a living testimony to others of the power of God. That is God’s game plan, however, surviving that and coming out to the other side of victory can be long, at times.
What happens if you come down with a sickness that the doctors say will be with you for years? You know that God has given you a promise of healing, but when will that happen? When we are buried deep in the dirt is when feelings of loneliness, abandonment, doubt, and depression can easily take over. When I had my period of burial, I used to feel guilty for being angry at God for the situation I was in. I couldn’t understand why God would tell me one thing and yet it seems that everything around me was in complete contradiction to the promise of God. It is very easy to listen to Satan whisper the lies, that you are forgotten, you would have been better off sinning rather than walking in holiness and suffering. I have learned that when Satan starts talking then I needed to start talking back to him the word of God.
Getting honest with yourself and God is vital to coming out of your period of waiting. Don’t be afraid of having those hard conversations with yourself and God about how you feel. Don’t be afraid of feeling negative emotions! I remember thinking that if I felt any kind of negativity or doubt then I was sinning. On top of dealing with really hard things that would make me cry, now there was this additional burden of pretending to God and myself that all was well —because, God forbid, if anything other than a positive thought crossed my mind at any point in time.
But you know what I learned? God gave me my emotions, the good and the bad. In fact, we all were made in God’s image, so because God can feel anger, so can we. If God can feel hurt, despair, jealousy, then so can we. You know a funny thing happened, God wasn’t surprised by my feelings. Instead, He took my feelings head-on and gave me peace, joy, and grace instead. I learned that I can go to Him and lay everything down at the alter. I would ask God the hard questions of why is this happening to me? Sometimes, He would give me an answer and sometimes He didn’t.
Every time I went to God with my doubts and fears, He gave me faith and grace in exchange. God is no respecter of persons, if He did it for me, He will do it for you. Getting buried in the dirt also taught me that His grace was indeed sufficient for me. Although God didn’t remove the thorn in my flesh, His grace gave me the ability to endure the hardship. In fact, I really believe, that is the true definition of grace. Grace is the sacred ability to endure hardships as a good soldier in Christ.
The Final Fruit
What then is God’s purpose for the trials? Well, Paul said in Romans 5:3-5 NKJV: “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us”.
Once you made it through the fire of testing, one of the main things it produces in the life of the Christian is an unshakeable hope in Christ. There is nothing like having a steadfast companion that you can lean on and run to whenever things go bad. For some people that is a parent, or childhood friend, or spouse. However, sometimes God will remove those people out of your life so that you can learn to lean, trust, and run to Christ instead. During the dark times, when depression weighs on you like a dark wet blanket.
The Holy Spirit will shine forth in your heart with a Scripture or a song to drive the darkness away. That is why I love Psalms 119. It goes down the path of trial but the writer turned to God’s word every step of the way. It is ok to remind God of His promise to you, and it is ok to be weak because when you are weak, then He is strong. I’m going to end this post with the opening verse again. Say it to yourself and keep His word in your heart.
Psalms 119:49-50 NKJV “Remember the word to Your servant, Upon which You have caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.”
Written by Shannelle Logan
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on javadevotions.com.
Featured Image by Glenn Carstens-Peters