Pressing On

Sometimes, I’m such a twit.  I can’t tell you how glad I am that God, in His infinite patience and endless love and mercy, never actually says that to me.  But I’m sure there are times He must feel like it.

This epiphany came to me this weekend after spending several days trying to climb out of the deep dark emotional funk I’ve been in.  The circumstances of the past couple of weeks, coupled with a never-ending list of stuff I gotta do, have worn me down.  Physically, I’m tired.  Mentally, I’m frazzled.  And spiritually, I’m empty.  The sum of all these parts is depression.  Darkness.  Despair.  And as much as I hate being in that place, I’ve been unable to find my way out.

Until this morning.

As the sun pierced through the windows in my studio, it was like God opened a ray of light into my soul and spoke directly to my heart.  I was re-reading our passage of study for our Uganda trip meeting when suddenly He had me park here for awhile:

I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.  John 17:15

As I meditated on this, He gently moved my eyes back a few verses to read this:

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.  John 16:33

And then He sent me here:

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  James 1:2-3

You’re probably more of a quick study than me.  By now, you’ve probably noticed a theme, a trend, an obvious connection.  Eventually, I did too.  But what struck me is that these verses contain a promise, too.  Maybe not a happy, all-warm-and-fuzzy, let’s-get-together-and-sing-Kum-ba-Yah kind of promise, but a promise nonetheless.  These verses promise us that as believers – heck, as human beings – we will experience trials.  There’s no escaping them.  We might as well accept that fact and be prepared, because it’s gonna happen.  Cancer.  Job loss.  Accidents.  Political strife.  Some trials are more difficult than others, but there is no escaping that promise.  Trials will happen.  Life is hard.

Oddly enough, as God reminded me of this promise, I began to feel energized.  Renewed.  Fearless.  And – ironically – hopeful.  Crazy as it seems, this reminder that hardship is inescapable, that trials are promised, that life is difficult brought me a sense of calm and restored optimism.  Because there is more to the story.  Like all optimists, I search for the silver lining.  And there’s a big one.

Our trials have a happy ending.  It’s guaranteed.  I don’t know exactly what that happy ending is, because it’s different for everyone and unique to each situation.  We are protected from the evil one.  Christ has overcome the world.  We have the strength to endure – which means an end is in sight.  We will get through it.  We will succeed.  We will have joy once again.  Just read those verses again and I’m sure you’ll see it.

Is it any wonder, then, that this song spoke so deeply to me this morning as I had the privilege of singing it at church with my favorite trio?

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