When something doesn’t turn out the way we hope, we feel disappointed. There are degrees of disappointment, from a passing bad day to outright devastation. Christians are not shielded from disappointment. Actually, believers might have a tendency to struggle more from this emotional ailment than those who do not believe in God.
I went through a time when disappointments seemed like an endless string of setbacks, to the point where I wondered if I had fooled myself into believing I belonged to God and that I really belonged to Satan. Everything happening in my life, from repeated job losses to a car that broke down at the start of my unemployment woes, to the disconnect from the very organization I had invested my money and my time into—pointed to the judgment of God. The verdict: Rejected. Disowned. Unloved.
Even now, I cannot write this without the sting of tears in my eyes when I think about all that happened. I really wondered what I had done so terribly wrong to deserve what felt like the near destruction of my life.
Although I don’t understand everything, a few things I know for sure:
1.) Forgiveness was the foundation of my healing and strengthening, accomplished in the name of Jesus. I needed to forgive myself, to forgive others, and to receive forgiveness from God.
2.) We cannot determine God’s love for us through our circumstances, only by what the Bible says. God can teach us, mold us, and redirect us through difficult circumstances, but He always loves us, and His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) He doesn’t love more one day and less another day, depending on our thoughts and actions. His love is unconditional. Sometimes this is hard to believe because trials can be hard on us emotionally and financially. But then we must go back to the basics: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) If He loved me at my worst by giving me salvation and calling me His beloved, then He loves me when I get it wrong in following Him.
Fact: As much as trials hurt, we learn obedience through suffering, just like Jesus our High Priest (Hebrews 5:8), who endured the worst. For me, I revered God more and had greater compassion after I was humbled.
3.) God knows what He’s doing with your life, if you’ve given it to Him. Satan is God’s servant. The Father allowed the destroyer into my life (as I did by not lining up my thoughts to the Word) to serve a higher purpose of shaping me, and to bring me back into close and satisfying fellowship with Himself.
4.) God’s grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Although I felt abandoned by God at certain times, I acknowledge that He gave me the strength I needed to get through. Damage was done, but the outcome is knowing the power of His Word, the healing comfort of His Spirit, and freedom from some of my fears. When you’ve experienced the absence of these blessings, you know how priceless they are.
5.) Going through the fire had a divine way of creating in me a thankful and joyful heart. So praise God for loving us like true sons and daughters in Christ through the pruning of circumstances. Your faith is worth more than gold to Him! (1 Peter 1:7)
How has God used trials to bring you closer to Him and to your eternal purpose in Christ?