Jeffrey Schmitz, Cedar Rapids, IA – Troubles don’t last. God sees us through all sorts of difficulties if we remain faithful with Him. When the heavens seem silent, one should just patiently wait on God. Abraham spent many years in silence, not hearing the voice of God, but he stayed the course. We must have a vibrant prayer life and be immersed in the scriptures. God’s Word is Him speaking to us and giving us understanding and direction.
A pastor should always be a mentor in the midst of a saint’s trial. We may be having our own trials, but we need to be the shepherd to God’s flock at all times and ask God for His strength especially in those trying times. Phil. 4:13 NKJV says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
My greatest trial was when I was to be voted in as pastor. There were saints who were hindering the process, even though I had been assistant pastor there for many years. I was ready to move on, but I didn’t feel it was the will of God to do so. In the end I was voted in as pastor and have served as their pastor for 14 years. As for those certain saints, they were the ones that moved on. Most of our trials come from people, not things, but we must discern the will of God for our life and press on or face failure in our ministry.
Joseph Pulaski, Middletown, CT – It is important that we look upon the Lord with increased focus when we are going through a trial. As it was said of Moses in Hebrews 11:27, he had the strength to turn his back on Egypt, was fearless and endured because his eyes were upon “him who is invisible.” When we see the fullness of the Lord with clarity, all else comes into true perspective.
We can be deceived by our emotions and misguided by our senses. Just as a pilot is trained to “trust the instruments,” we must trust the Word of God and trust the leading of the Holy Spirit. Storms disorient, but even in the midst of trouble He will give power, love and a sound mind. Don’t underestimate the support of your pastor and the encouragement of others who have truly endured many trials with a consistent faith that has stood the test of time.
Felder Luma, Stottville, NY – Instead of being consumed with the trials and with prayers that seem to bounce back, asking God for the proper perspective and grace to endure has brought me the best outcome. When I “feel” that God has taken a vacation or sits on the throne with ear plugs, the only solution is to bring my thoughts, imaginations and feelings under the obedience to His Word. I must submit them to His Lordship and meditate on His promises, eternal truth and Word to bring the victory. Trials are par for the course in Christianity. They are our precious refineries.
Burying four young, close family members in one day, and struggling with infertility after our 13 years of marriage was difficult. However, my greatest trial was a season of life when I felt abandoned by God, as though He had removed all hedges of protection in my life and let Satan loose to buffet me. Prior to that, I had always had an answer for people’s dilemmas. People called me regarding sickness, marriage problems, demonic oppression and possession. Suddenly, I became fearful, overwhelmed, hypervigilant and in a state of panic. I couldn’t sleep at night, and even imagined myself in a mental institution. Demonically oppressed people would tell me a “voice” told them to call me, as if Satan was calling me into the ring. I began to avoid ministry opportunities. Even with a strict discipline of prayer, fasting, praise, worship and meditation, I became so tired I would just lie before the Lord. But I put my trust in Him, and He took me on a journey that made me aware of myself and of Him, eliminating my fears.
Jeremy Damesworth, Steele, MO – When in deep trials, people often feel abandoned by positive mentors. I try to find a positive in their past to build a foundation. This opens a door for them to trust me. In return, I am trusting God to continue to lead me. When the heavens are silent for a saint, I meet with them to get some history as to what brought the trial to this point. I then remind them of the Biblical way to move forward by God’s voice through His Word. If people do not pray and read the Bible during times of great trials, they are telling God, “I don’t need you.”
My greatest trial was when a minister, close to me, betrayed me and turned others against me. I felt alone, abandoned and worthless. The lesson I learned was that a human did this and not God. It has helped me help others who have gone through the same trial and, over a period of time, I have healed.
Jerry Staten, Washington, DC – During trials, keep your mind on Jesus and stay connected with prayer. Journaling can help greatly in difficult seasons, and scripture memorization strengthens the mind. And, it is important to stay connected to the body of Christ. I have found quiet times in the night with old hymns that opened me up to the healing presence of God and kept me from making dangerous snap decisions. These seasons often deepen one’s relationship with God. Prayer and Bible reading bring fresh revelation, and Psalm 23 keeps the heart sensitive through the valley. Staying connected to and being transparent with those who have a voice in your life can be a key to survival.
Paul Ramonett, Idaho Falls, ID – The life of a Christian is not immune to life’s trials and tribulations and we often ask how God could allow His children to go through such painful experiences. Many have given up the faith, because of an experience they went through. It is important that your spiritual leader knows what you are going through. Your pastor, as your counselor, will pray for you and give the best advice in times of trial, encouraging you to draw closer to God. My greatest trial was one of illness years ago. Remember, God allows trials so we can grow and develop our faith in Him through prayer and reading His word. The lesson learned in our trials is we bring Him the glory as we triumph over the challenges we face. The trial of our faith is more precious than gold, tried in the fire.