“The wilderness is that season of our lives where God, through our loneliness, teaches us that his will is to do something in us, not merely do something for us. That is, by walking by faith and not by sight, he works in us a stronger faith, leading to a deeper worship that results in a greater joy.” Tony Reinke
I am not going to lie, this has been the hardest season (year) of my life. Like that quote, I feel like I have been walking through the wilderness. A wilderness full of disappointment, confusion, hurt, death, pain, trust issues, loneliness, broken hearts and more. I have no idea why some of the things that have happened, happened and I still don’t know why to this day and I probably won’t until years later or even till death.
I have had many times where I wanted to run away and to give up. I would look at my life and ask God, why, in my confusion and anger. “Why do I have to go through all of this? This again? What about your promise to me? Did I hear you, Lord, correctly? Was I this stupid to believe that this would work? Why me? What is my future now?”
I honestly thought this whole season has been about trusting the Lord, which it is, but there is more. Though this season has definitely been more walking by faith than sight, it became about the choice of joy. Now that I type this, it sounds silly but its true. I asked myself, “Have I really fully walked in and known the Joy of the Lord?” The answer was no.
I know God takes us through things to know and to see his glory. The Lord has taken me places that have been uncomfortable, hard, heartbreaking, lonely and more. I could easily look at my life and become bitter and lose my faith in God and his promises… yet in my heart, I know God’s words are true and that there are far better things ahead. He has shown me this my whole life… “How could I doubt him after seeing this?” I mean, We have all been through things that were hard that we didn’t understand why but looking back over the years, you see that God had better things in store and… that’s why that bad stuff happened.
It is hard to go through suffering and not know why or what the outcome of it will be. The unknown is scary. Honestly, it’s hard to trust God when everything seems to be falling apart. Right? That’s where that test of faith and trust comes in. I asked myself the other day, “Do I have the ability to trust God in this hardness? Then God took it even deeper and asked me, “Do you have to ability to have joy in your sufferings?”
I was a bit hurt by this. It’s hard to have joy when things aren’t going the way you planned. “How could I have joy Lord, when I am heartbroken and I feel like everything in my life is wrong. How can I feel anything but sadness and anger?” God told me he was sorry for the things that have happened to me. I could feel his heartbreak for me. Then God told me, “Trust me because I know you best and I have a joy that I want to give you.”
It reminded me of James 1:2-3, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” God is your comfort, he surely is mine. He has your best intentions in mind. Go with his plans, not your own.
I am in a season of choosing joy in my confusion, anger, sadness, and frustration. I am not going to lie… It’s hard and it’s going to take time to even step into that joy. Someone once told me, “It’s okay to not be okay.” I am not okay right now but I will be and so will you. I want what the Lord has for me so I will walk towards it by slowing gaining that joy and by leaning and trusting in him. Even though I don’t know the outcome, I will hold onto his promises on my life and the things he spoke over it, even if it seems silly and I will be joyful through it.
I think of Hannah in the Bible and how she was in a season like mine. A woman who could not have a child and began to lose her faith towards God. When Hannah prayed she was very honest with how she was feeling. She sometimes cried a lot and probably felt like God had forgotten her. But while she was praying she promised God, “Dear God, if you would only look and see how sad I am and remember me, please give me a son (her heart’s desire). If you would do that for me I will dedicate my son to you for his whole life.”
Even in her confusion and sadness, she held onto Gods promise, though it seemed impossible. She even worshiped and had joy in the process and later God fulfilled his promise because he loves her and she trusted in him.
I am going to be like Hannah and choose to have joy in the suffering and to hold onto Gods promises and his prophetic words that he spoke over my life. Having Joy is so many different things. It’s your time with God, your attitude, how you respond to things and how you treat others. Having Joy is a choice that can lead to better understanding of God, it increases your faith, gives you a new perspective, it is a freedom he is giving you from your suffering and it is a testimony of who you are and how you respond in hardship. People watch how you respond when the bottom falls out. Like what Lecrae says, “Your true character is revealed when the bottom falls out.” How are you responding? If you’re responding in Joy in your seasons of life, they will see that and see Jesus’ character.
I do believe some things right now are just for a season and they will play out later, the way God intended. In this time of confusion, we need to stop and listen to God and see what he is teaching us. I was just told by a friend that “Time Heals”. In this time, God has a lot to teach us, let’s not miss out by being full of doubt, sadness, confusion, anger and filled with lies from the enemy but rather have joy in trusting in him. It’s a lot easier to type all of this than to actually put it into practice. But the Lord will give you the strength to walk through it and in it.
It’s hard to go through suffering and have to trust God that everything will be okay. I just want to let you know that it’s okay to cry, to be angry, to get upset at God at times. Be real with him and let him guide you. I had many people tell me that everything is going to be okay and I would get so upset because I felt like it wasn’t. I had people telling me to get up, let go and to move on. My advice to you is to listen to God first before you listen to those who aren’t him in times of confusion and hurt. I want you to know that it’s okay, you can grieve and have time to be in confusion and sadness… BUT do not let it consume you. Give it to God by telling him how you feel and he will replace those things. He will tell or show you why you are going through this.
I know there is something waiting for me that I have yet to find out. The same is with you. God is preparing us for something so much greater. It’s hard to think past all of the hardships but I pray for strength, trust, and Joy in this time. And to those who are going through something hard, I pray this over you, that you will have JOY IN YOUR SUFFERINGS.
Original Post can be found on A_Heart_Fullmetal