“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation; and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Psalm 18:35)
Now, I have never been a great fan of trials and tribulation. Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b) I confess that there have been plenty of times when I have not been of good cheer concerning tribulation and trials. As a matter of fact, when I was in my bed 23 hours per day for 8 months due to CFS (here’s a post I wrote on my other blog that will give you a picture of some of what I went through), I was not only not cheerful, I was miserable as hell. After hour after hour of being unable to move or even think coherently, in my heart I began to complain about the unfairness of my station in life and how God was simply watching from somewhere up in heaven while I lay in all that discomfort and misery and I became so very sad inside.
I began to dread waking up in the mornings, because it was only going to be a repeat of the day before. I was bedridden for eight months and could only manage to go to the bathroom and down the stairs for my occasional smoke. (If you’re a smoker, you know you’ll do what you have to do in order to have that smoke.LOL) Other than that, I was flat on my back, with only my laptop for company and many days I did not have the strength to even go online. But I had my Bible in bed with me and I began reading about suffering and trials and the trying of our faith being much more precious than gold. It was a struggle for me for quite some time because my mind kept replaying the dissatisfaction that I was feeling concerning my life and I felt that I was missing out on so much that so many others took for granted. Being able to sit up under my own power, being able to walk, and even being able to shower. (During that time, I had a small basin that I would fill up weekly and only had enough strength to wash the upper part of my body. The bottom half had to wait a few more days. I simply had no strength in my body. I was imprisoned within my body and could not get out.) I thought that God had forgotten about me and was finished with me. But the Lord was only beginning with me during those many days of confinement.
He led me to the History Channel, where I watched a series about the Navy Seals BUDs training. I was fascinated by what it took to be a Navy Seal and I began to see myself as spiritually and emotionally taking part in that training and started watching the shows on YouTube every day, each day resolving that, no matter what, I was NOT going to ring that bell! I began to take the scriptures about suffering to heart. Such as the one, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:3-5) and “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 1:7).
Now, I was in the fire. If felt as if I were in the fiery furnace itself as I dealt with extreme boredom, the physical manifestations of CFS on my body, my unhappiness and stress and anxiety that I was feeling on a daily basis–the trial was intense and it lasted for quite a long time. But it is interesting. When you suffer for a long time, all sorts of things come out of you that you were not even aware was there. I discovered that I had been doubting God and accusing Him of not loving or caring about me and forgetting about me. Now, remember, these thoughts weren’t ones that were just running rampant through my head. They were buried deep down in my subconscious and it took the burning of the furnace and the bread of affliction (“And though the lord give you the bread of adversity, an the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shalll see thy teachers:” Isaiah 30:20) to bring up all of those feelings of anger, doubt, unbelief, and fear that had taken up residence in my mind without my knowledge. I just thought that I was unhappy because of my physical deprivations.
The Lord did not jump all over me with condemnation because I had those feelings and thoughts towards Him. Instead, He began to gently lead me to healing scriptures and words of comfort and strengh. And when I began to grow stronger in Him, He very patiently (and again, gently) pointed out those areas of unbelief and anger within me. He did it without hurting my feelings or my pride, which were both in a very tenuous position at that time. I was very vulnerable. But the gentleness of God simply shined His light on my shortcomings and then He flooded my heart with peace and love. He reminded me that I am more than a conqueror through Him that loved me (Romans 8:37) and that nothing that I would ever go through would be able to separate me from His love. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38,39)
It was only when I was strong enough that God rooted out the roots of bitterness and anger that had taken root in my heart and replaced it with His love and joy. And His gentleness. His great gentleness has, indeed, made me great and now I soar like an eagle. I now fly above the waters of adversity that had previously been drowning me and I can only credit and thank the God of heaven Who loves me so much that he accepts me just the way that I am, but loves me too much to allow me to stay that way. What a God we serve!
If you are going through a rough patch, I encourage you to trust God. He is completely trustworthy and He knows exactly where you are, what you are going through, and what He is accomplishing in your life. Trust Him and you, too, will find great peace. Guaranteed.
I’m not speaking doctrine or dogma. I am speaking experience. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Try it for yourself and see for yourself the utter faithfulness of God.