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When Life Hurts So Bad
by Dr. Yvonne McCastle

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James 1:2-4 advises to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." But, I will admit: it is certainly not easy to be consumed with excitement during seasons of adversity. Let's face it-- enduring harsh, winter seasons, of course, are not pleasant walks in the park. For example, broken relationships, loss of loved ones, hardships, sickness, and pains can lead us down some tangent roads with many twists and turns and literally break our spirits in two. During this process, we may feel God is lying dormant in our lives; quiet and still--and we have been left alone.

The truth of the matter is, when the storm of life rages around us, we tend to experience power shortages in our faith in God. He says to us, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:6). Though it might not appear so on the surface, the problem is we give up too easily. We often like to move ahead of Him and do our own thing, even when we know better. And not surprisingly, we end up falling over our own feet.

As human beings, it is not always simple to stand still in the wake of adversity and focus our attention on the Lord. With each deafening blow, we may be tempted to get up, run, and take cover. But, the only time we should be running from a situation is when we are running to Him for comfort and Fatherly advice. The Word affirms that, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1). He is our security blanket and only He can truly wrap and protect us in His grace around the clock.

One thing is certain--storms will come to test the very fiber of our faith. We can surely count on it. No matter what we do, they cannot be avoided. Although we cannot always see them coming, the storms are there. We may try to run, hide, or duck, but they have a way of catching up with us like bloodhounds and getting our attention.

Seemingly, when everything is going well, some of us continue to coast through life doing things in our own way and on our own time. These are the moments we welcome with gladness. We recognize them and give thanks when they come. We see no need to change because the conditions in which we are in are comfortable. Only when disaster strikes, do we look for God to come to our aid. But He does not just want our praise in those times of great joy and celebration, He wants our praise even in those times of great testing and tribulation.

We must seek to trust Him unconditionally, especially during trying times. Though the process may be a tough one, we must keep our eyes on God and trust Him to do the things He is able to do in our lives. While we may not see the results at the time, it does not mean He will not make good on His promises. God is able to do "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20). You do not have to worry. He is standing right beside you saying, "This thing is too heavy for you and you are not able to handle it by yourself" (Exodus 18:18). He wants you to know that even in the midst of all the drama, He is still working His wonders in your life.

I can vividly recall awakening to the melodious voice of my mother in my childhood years. She was a tall, portly woman who could make the tiny hairs on the back of your neck curl up with her warm, tenor voice. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' Blood and Righteousness," tolled throughout the paper-thin walls of our home early one Saturday morning. Back then, I did not quite understand why the lyrics of this particular song, "My Hope is Built," had penetrated my mother's spirit. However, it was not until I reached adulthood that God's Word began to take root in my own life. Then, I began to fully understand how my mother could sing with such great conviction. In other words, she took the intangible {faith} and spoke to the tangible {the storm}. So as the lyrics traveled from room to room, she was testifying about every storm that had attempted to breach her inner strength and steal her joy.

My mother knew God was standing over her. And no matter how high the wave of the storms raged and soared, she knew He stood much higher. Because of her overwhelming trust in God, He had placed her in a position to walk and sing in complete victory.

As we begin to exercise our faith, it firms and strengthens our spiritual backbones. We reach a whole new level of confidence of His invincible power to bring us out of any given situation. We charge ahead as a soldier going into battle like David who faced Goliath, a mighty giant, with only a sling and some stones (1 Samuel 17:1-58). David trusted that if he would boldly step up in faith against the enemy, God himself would surely step out and give him victory.

Few of us learn to take advantage of our faith. Our circumstances seem impossible because we think there are not enough resources on hand. It is all too easy to give up without any expectation of God supplying our needs in great measure--hand over fist. We come to find that our lives do not function well when we walk in lack. We end up abandoning or perhaps sabotaging our own breakthroughs.

People who trust in God are always learning. For them, faith is a way of turning adversities into training opportunities to deepen their relationship with God and build up their spiritual resources. They come out of their valley experiences thriving and praising God because they know that all good things come from Him. Every season of pain is a season for gain.

Digest the fruits of His Word and seek to know and understand His will in all things. This establishes a critical foundation for better understanding what God requires of you. As this Truth nourishes your life, you will be able to understand the importance of obedience and the need to serve Him each day. Then, you too, can say as the Psalmist, "This I declare of the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting Him" (Psalm 91: 2). And if you hold fast and endure, with each passing season, your character will be stronger, your testimony...sweeter, and His glory...greater.


Written by: Dr. Yvonne McCastle
The author may be contacted at http://www.yvonnemccastle.com ymccastle@comcast.net.

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