When I encounter situations that I am certain will produce trouble, I immediately look for a detour. Sometimes, I find a detour quickly, grateful that I avoided whatever frustration, anger and suffering I was likely to encounter.
In some cases, much to my frustration and dismay, there is no exit, and I must endure whatever trial has come to me. I am most frustrated when these problems are ones that I did not create.
When trouble greets me and my life suddenly seems louder than it was a few moments before, I am bewildered. I ask the Lord what to do. I complain. I whine. I ask, “Why is this happening? I was minding my own business, following your directions, and walking on the path you’ve placed before me.” Sometimes, there is a solution, and soon, the problem disappears. Other times, the Lord clearly reveals that turning to the left or right to avoid that trouble is not the direction he wants me to take, and he requests that I walk through the problem. My reactions to this request vary, ranging from “Seriously?” to “Okay.” Sometimes, I am silent as I absorb what he requests.
When I am tempted to run away or turn around, the Lord always responds with the same song lyric, “You’ve come this far by faith. No turning back. No turning back.” Then, I stop and think about the last time the Lord spoke those words to me, and how I walked through the problem and emerged on the other side a stronger, wiser, and more resilient Rachel than before. My “Seriously?” turns into “Yes. Okay. I will go… as long as you are with me.” He gladly joins me, and we walk through the rain, wind, and lightening together, working through the challenges each day brings. The trial is not as hard as it would be if I walked alone.
Working through the problem looks different everyday. Sometimes, I journal a lot. I’ll talk to someone I trust. I’ll pray. Or, on particularly rough days, I’ll just sit with Jesus in the location where I hear him best and not say anything at all. Sometimes he’ll say something, and sometimes, he won’t.
I learn most about the Lord, myself and life from these trials that seem customized just for me. I learn what I am not made of and what I am made of. I learn that the last trial the Lord asked me to walk though prepared me for the latest one. I learn that trials aren’t quite so bad once I intentionally adopt a better attitude about my circumstances, and take time to assess what I am learning and how these lessons will benefit me in the future.
Most of all, I think I am learning that trials are a time when it is very important to sit in silence (Lamentations 3:28) because too much chatter and thinking and analyzing during times of confusion only drowns out the voice of God, fuels complaining, and enhances misery.
So, with my faithful friend by my side, and with the most strength, the best attitude, and the most joy I can muster, I head down the path before me because I have come this far by faith and there is no point in turning back.