How do you usually react when trials and troubles come your way? What is your response when your soul grows weary and the burden you carry seems almost unbearable? For me, trials often initially cause a particular response to bubble-up within my soul. An attitude of self-pity and a no-one-around-me-could-possibly-understand-what-I’m-going-through mindset are usually my first inclinations during times of difficulty.
Recently my friend and I were discussing some of our current struggles with one another, as we often do. During our conversation, God used her kind and compassionate words to remind me of the goodness and love He so freely pours out onto His people. The Lord, though He owes us nothing, graciously brings believers together in unity to experience sweet fellowship with one another. And at times, to lovingly rebuke and correct one another. What a gift God has given us – each other! So, why is it that often times we quickly declare that no one could possibly understand the hardship we’re experiencing in a particular situation? Why does it matter if someone doesn’t understand the exact pain and the exact circumstances you’re going through? Can any of us ever perfectly understand one another? Only Christ truly understands our woes, and He is able to sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), for He knows us better than we know ourselves. We don’t always fully understand how it must feel to experience a particular trial, but we do all go through trials. Every person doesn’t understand what it’s like to mourn the loss of a spouse, suffer a terrible illness, sort through a mountain of debt, endure the sorrow of a miscarriage, or face long-term unemployment. But we all, in different ways and from different angles, have felt the crippling emotions various trials can bring, such as loneliness, unworthiness, guilt, and heartbreak.
Just because no two person’s troubles are the same doesn’t mean that we all haven’t experienced hurt, pain, and grief. Everyone goes through trials. Some are more visible than others. Some are never exposed to anyone at all. But the purpose of our trials, no matter how big or how small, is to cause us to cling to Christ all the more and to remind us that our hearts will never be made whole or complete until we reach the end of this earthly race. Trusting that Christ will bring us to completion is the only hope for any of us. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Knowing that God is working all things for the good of those who love Him and have been called as His children makes the trials more bearable. God created us to need Him and to rely on each other for support during hard times. And He graciously places people in our lives that continue to point us to Christ in the midst of it all. Thankfully, we are all in this race together! So let’s focus on running the course hand-in-hand, being sure that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).