Someone asked me today what I tell myself when I'm going through trials. Here are some thoughts that came to mind:
1) Live today, today. Don't live tomorrow, today. As Jesus said, "Tomorrow will have it's own set of troubles." (Mt. 6:34). The best way to deal with trials is a day at a time. Sometimes a moment at a time. The future is too much to swallow at once, any way you slice it.
2) Remember that every problem has both a beginning and an end. I think of trials as a tunnel. There's a certain entrance and a certain exit. In the middle is chaos, but there IS an exit point. Remembering that is a good way to navigate the chaos.
3) I tell myself seven words when facing a trial. Here they are: "With God's help, I'll get through this." If you leave out the first three words, you're leaving out an incredible source of power. Facing trials without dependency on God is like trying to keep rain from falling out of a storm cloud. It can't be done. Remember the seven words.
4. On the other side of the trial, I look back and say seven different words: "God was there, and He was good." You never really KNOW that God will be there until you're in the midst of a trial. Once you've discovered that He is, your faith grows. This is one of the great blessings of suffering. Nothing else will do more to build your faith than trusting Him in trials. God doesn't give us strength on credit. He gives it to us in the moment of greatest need. Faith is cumulative. It builds on itself. This is one of the great benefits of living long enough to experience a wide array of trials.
5. One other thing I tell myself is that no one is exempt from suffering. No one. Jesus said very clearly, "In this world, you will have troubles." (John 16:33). He also said, "The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike." (Mt. 5:45). Believers and nonbelievers get cancer. Believers and nonbelievers are killed in accidents. Believers and non believers experience broken relationships, financial difficulties, misunderstandings, doubt, criticism, and illness. All of us will die. Even those who believe that "God always heals."
Adversity introduces us to ourselves...and to God on a deeper level. Embrace it as best you can, tears and all...and remember the seven words, "With God's help, I'll get through this." And on the other side of the trial, seven other words..."God was there, and He was good."
Blessings to all...especially to those in a season of suffering.