Let’s be honest. Sometimes there are trials in our lives that just last too long, for other people. I mean how long can you stay depressed? How long will you mourn? Aren’t you over your husband having an affair yet?
People may not say it, but they think it. At first everyone is into our suffering. You might get cards, an email, text, or of course an encouraging Face book post. If the trial continues past six months you will get less cards, less texts, no phone calls, and few Face book messages. If you dare suffer over a year you may find that no one even remembers your plight. Haven’t you suffered enough?
I made a difficult phone call once. I asked a couple from church to watch my four young kids while I went to talk to a divorce lawyer. They didn’t answer when I called so I left a message. I was ashamed, scared, and in utter shock. How could this be happening to me? I left a message. Could they please call me and let me know if they could watch my children. I wouldn’t be very long. I just need a couple hours.
They never returned my call. They never talked to me at church, or made any indication that they were aware of my trial. This came as a huge blow since others close to me had reacted in the same way. In fact do you know who helped me the most during that time? A family member who doesn’t even go to church. She helped me in so many ways. The last person I would have ever called was the very person God sent to help me in my time of need.
My husband and I stayed together, but our marriage trial continued for 7 years. Trust me when I say that is way too long for people. No one can really suffer that long. Can they? Most people can’t go with you the first few months, let alone after a year. In time people quit asking you how things are going? It’s easier to presume everything is alright.
If you dare bring it up then you are seen as the problem. You must have a problem, or be “depressed” to keep bringing this up at the prayer meeting. What is wrong with you?
What’s wrong is sometimes we hurt and suffer for a very long time. What’s wrong is that most people aren’t even as kind as Job’s friends. They won’t acknowledge our pain long enough to mock it. What’s wrong is that we have to hide if our suffering and pain becomes an annoyance to others.
But God is patient in long suffering.
But God is all knowing
But God is all powerful
But God is love
But God sees
But God hears
But God listens
But God acts
But God sent a Helper
But God conquered death
But God sent His Son
God is not annoyed with your suffering, in fact I am betting He is in it somehow. Using it to mold and conform you. He hasn’t left you alone. He can be trusted. He won’t let you down. When everyone else leaves us, God stays. He will not leave you and He will not forsake you. You can count on Him.
Even though I went through a 7 year marriage trial alone, I was really not alone. I had God. During that time I learned to trust Him and rely on Him. I learned that He was there, fighting every tear, hearing the groans of my heart, strengthening me, and guiding me. He used that trial to mold and change me into His likeness, and for that I am thankful.
In some ways I am thankful I was alone. I am thankful that the only person I had to rely on was God. It was then that I learned to make Him my all. It was then I learned that He is sufficient. I learned to pray, fast, and rely on His Word like our bodies rely on oxygen.
How to Survive?
Prayer is a must. God centered, forgiveness seeking, humble pray. Actually just really pray. Don’t say you will pray, actually pray.
God’s Word must be a priority. Now I am not saying this as a Christian nicety like, pray and all will be well. Follow God and life is flowers. No, no, no. I mean you and God’s word. I know all the excuses because I have made them. Just give it five minutes.
Fellowship. Yes the church hurt me too, yes it hurts you, but we need it. For better or worse we need the fellowship of other believers. Stay in church. Even if people don’t stick with you through those long trials. Perhaps God is orchestrating things so you will learn to lean solely on Him. Yes, this lesson really sucks!
Choose to trust. Trusting God is a choice. During long trials we have to make this choice very often. Lord, I don’t know why this trial won’t end, but I trust you. I know you are powerful, all knowing, and that if you wanted you could end this. I think you might be crazy and am not sure if you actually care, or see what is going on, but I trust you. Keep saying this, keep believing, even through the tears.
God didn’t let me down. My 7 year trial ended. It ended gradually, and over time our marriage was renewed and strengthened. It’s been 8 years since that trial ended, and I can truly say I am thankful for that time in my life. It was needed to mold and conform me, and to prepare me for full time ministry.
Don’t give up. Pray, trust, and dive into God’s Word. He won’t let you down.