Much like seasons of weather, not every season in my life is guaranteed to be enjoyable. Some seasons are darker or colder, some are brighter or more colorful. If you, like me, are in a season of struggle, doubt, or suffering, than sometimes finding a little peace may seem like an unattainable dream, a carrot dangling on a string just out of your reach. Knowing we cannot catch it, we cling to the little things we have and fear the thought of letting them go. But, holding tightly to the things we think we need and the little joys we try hard to hang on to, can keep us from seeing the truly God-given blessings we have in our lives.
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For instance, if I had not let go of my job, my home, my friends and my comfort zone, I would not have grown as dependent on God as I have this past year. Now, perhaps, you might say that homeless, jobless, and loneliness don’t exactly sound like heavenly blessings. Well, were I hearing it from someone else, I would have to agree, but from down here in the muddy trench, I have honestly learned to thank God for the things I never wanted to have in the first place, and find peace in the simplicity of His grace.
“Now when we heard these things, both we and those from that place pleaded with him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.””
Like Paul, I knew there would be struggles in my future. I knew I would make enemies and lose friends for taking a stand and following the path God was setting out for me. I had to have faith like I’d never known before. Stomping through this muddy trench, one foot in front of the other, never able to see what lay beyond the current position, I learned to have peace in the present and be still when the enemy was all around me. I can’t say I won’t break down tomorrow, but I am learning to find peace in my prayers for today.
“Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.”
When the trials or troubles seem to be multiplying and my strength is waining, I have nowhere to go but in the arms of my Lord and cling to His promise to never leave me. Sometimes that means repeating my prayers every few minutes for hours or even days to keep me sane. Other times, one prayer seems to be enough to set my heart at peace and simply know that He is God, and He loves me.
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
No matter what trial I face, no matter how deep or dark my trenches, God is always there beside me, preparing me to take the next step. Whether tomorrow brings a new enemy, or a blessed day of rest, I can find peace and stillness in knowing that I am not alone. Paul turned to his accusers and preached Jesus to them. He shared his testimony with the ones who turned against him. You and I can do the same.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”
Whether your trench is a struggle with sin, a battle with your health, the fight to forgive yourself or something else, you can know that Jesus is beside you. Even if the trenches seem like a never ending labyrinth of darkness, the light of Jesus is inside you and you are truly never alone in the dark.