There’s a new sign in the hospital reception area. It says “I’ve conquered this moment.” Underneath is a golden bell that cancer patients victoriously ring once their treatment is completed, as staff gather around to clap and cheer. I still have a few months to go, and can’t wait to ring that bell!
Breast cancer treatment is a series of conquering small moments. Day by day. Week by week. Month by month. But years down the track this trial will seem but a moment, just as the sign says.
Trials can be physical, emotional, financial, relational, or spiritual. They arrive at any time in any season. Charles Stanley says they may be short or prolonged, public or private, related to personal sin, the sin of others, or no sin at all. We act so surprised when they arrive, but trials are part of life. “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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV).
Trials put faith to the test and draw us back to basics.
Trials forge character and maturity. If I never had a problem I’d never know what faith in God can do.
Trials eventually pass.
Life’s momentum carries us forward yet we learn by looking backward. The benefit of hindsight some would say. But it’s more than sighing over what we wish we’d known at the time.
It’s about embracing what we have learned…the what we know now, the who we are now, and the what we can do now, and using that wisdom to live purposefully in the here and now.
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different?” (C.S Lewis). When trials linger it can certainly seem as if nothing much is changing, but that’s not true. Circumstances may not noticeably be changing, but we are! “…knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4 NKJV)
During the trial we need to swallow our pride and stop trying to work things out in our own wisdom, in our own strength, and in our own resilience. We need to run to God and not away from Him. He is the source of all wisdom and inner strength. Trials have a way of bringing us to the end of our own resources, and God is always waiting…ready to lift us up and give us grace in our hour of need if we humble ourselves before Him.
We can’t avoid trials. So when they arrive let’s be present in them. Let’s grow through them. Let’s surrender to God in them. As the sign says, they eventually become but a “moment” in life’s journey. Let’s trust God who is always working for our highest good, and His highest glory. We may not always see the “good” in the way we imagine we should, but faith triumphs in trouble when our trust is in His promise that “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:29 NKJV).
The timing is not up to us. The trusting is.
As we cross the finish line into eternity the trials, temptations, and challenges of this life will be swallowed up by joy everlasting for those who love the Lord. In His presence there is no more sin, no more sickness, no more pain, and no more sorrow. That’s where the true golden bell of victory will be rung.