I don’t know about you, but I count it all joy when a trial seems to be over yet James 1:2-3 (ESV) says to, “… count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds …” Apparently, I am doing it backwards!
Generally, when faced with a trial, I first beg and plead with God for help, wisdom, and rescue. Then, I begin to worry about all the details, people that might be affected in a negative way, and the most horrible outcome possible, reasoning that it is wise to prepare for the worst. Crazy, right? Then I “tighten my bootstraps” and begin my determined trudge through the trial. Can you relate?
My current trial has been different because God has been teaching me a different way to deal with it. In August of 2019, I was diagnosed with MGUS/Low Grade Lymphoma, meaning that cancer was already all throughout my body, but the specialist was not sure in which organ it would manifest. Thus, it’s been two and a half years of watching and waiting.
Stick Your Nose into your Bible
I have found no greater joy throughout this time of uncertainty than to study my Bible inductively. That means reading for understanding, reading again, marking repeated words, making lists, asking God for clear understanding, and then asking God to help me to apply this new understanding to my life. It’s a great deal of work, but it takes my focus off of current circumstances and sets my mind on God, where I “…put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Colossians 3:10, ESV).”
In Matthew 6:6-8 (ESV), Jesus said, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” God already knew I would be pleading for help and healing.
From studying the Scriptures, I have found that praying the same prayers the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles prayed is much more meaningful than my constant pleas for good health. For example, did you realize that the “Lord’s Prayer” is filled with plural pronouns (our, us)? Therefore, Jesus taught us not to simply pray for ourselves, but also for the entire body of believers!
Then Do What it Says
After having done some good study and pouring your heart out in prayer to God for yourself and for all believers, do what the Bible tells you to do. “Is any among you suffering? Let him pray…Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord (James 5:13-16, ESV).”
There is nothing magical about the oil the elders use to anoint people, but it is a reminder and representation of the Holy Spirit’s power to heal. Don’t be shy. Go and ask for the oil and prayer. No request is insignificant. From personal experience, I tell you it can do amazing things for your heart, soul, mind, and body.
What if your trial is not physical?
Many of our trials are not physical, but relational or emotional or having to do with sin or some character trait or attitude that the Lord wants to see changed for His glory. The same principles apply. Stick your nose into your Bible to find truths about God and His ways. Then pray!
When it Seems Like Too Much
Sometimes our trials or life circumstances seem overwhelming. We have all been there. Ladies call it the time of “ugly crying/ugly tears.” I don’t know what men call it.
If that’s how you feel, you can pray this prayer with me: “Lord Jesus, I know that God is the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3, ESV), so I ask for more comfort.” Because I know that God’s Word is true, God always gives His comfort because God knows what you and I need before we was ask for it.
Do not crawl into your coffin prematurely—I think Charles Spurgeon said that—where there is only doom, gloom, and depression. Instead, do what Paul told the Ephesians to do, “Awake, O sleeper…making the best use of the time…being filled with the Spirit…singing and making melody with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… (Eph. 5:14-21, ESV)”
Written by Elisabeth Asselin