And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Many have heard this verse. Although easy to quote to those going through trials, each of us have to come to a place where we truly trust in God and know that he is good and that he loves us despite the trials or circumstances before us. When we think about trials, we tend to be leery. What adversity comes, we lean towards asking God, why. Our enemy loves this because he is a liar and loves to blame God for everything. He loves to make us angry with God. He loves to come in between our relationship if he can.
Jesus however gave instruction that we would have trials on this earth. He did not mislead us, but knew that we have an enemy who seeks to devour and destroy us. He knew that if we seek him, we will overcome because he overcame. The plan of God’s salvation would not necessarily take us out of this world, but it would give us peace during the storm. It would give us hope in a dire situation. It would give us an opportunity to see him work the situation out for good.
1 Peter tells us that these fiery trials have come to prove our faith. I personally did not like adversity or trials. When a friend of mine shared this with me that I would endure a season of this, let me tell you I was not happy nor did I want to embrace this. However, the trials that came into my life changed me and my walk with God. Although I would not desire to walk through them again, I did grow from them. They were not easy. They were some of the toughest things I had ever encountered. They range from betrayal from a mentor and good friend, to financial, to my father passing away and no one to help, to enduring churches who were unwelcoming. It hit me hard. But God used these circumstances to work them for good. My prayer before all of this was God I want to serve you and you only. I want to always appreciate your salvation, giving thanks for what you have done.
Despite the things that happened, God gently nudged me to start a women’s bible study for me to lead. It initially started out with 6 women and it went through summer. As each new year approached, I prayed about continuing the bible study and to this date I am still serving the Lord in this capacity. And the Lord blessed me and my family by putting us in a church where people reaching out to people not judging them so harshly and extending the grace and mercy needed. I see them lifting up Jesus by preaching the gospel so that Jesus can draw all people to him. It was what I loved doing. I was no longer being beaten down for sharing God’s goodness and his word. I wasn’t being constantly corrected anymore about how it needed to be done perfectly. I was able to abide in his grace despite my shortcomings. I was able to see that the fruit of my labor. It was at the heart and soul of Jesus to share the good news of what he has done. It wasn’t about leaning more towards the gifts or the offices, but towards the heart of God. My passion always was to bring people back to God and not to me. Although I do have the gifts, I believe many can abuse such things. God’s power and gifts sometimes lead to thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to rather than walking out our salvation with fear and trembling.
God out of his great mercy began to show me by bringing those women I had minister to at over the last 17 years how he changed their lives. He was able to use me as a vessel to bring reconciliation back to God, to bring healing and restore their hope. They began to walk in a deeper relationship with God. He was able to do good works through me despite my poor condition. He brought encouragement to me when I needed it most to keep me gently moving forward despite the adversity. Where I had seen as failure he had produced his glory.
He also used adversity to bring me to a new level of faith by increasing my trust in him and through the trials my spirit began to stir and Romans 8:28 began to resonate within my spirit. God took care of everything. During these trials what I gained was more faith and more trust. At times I still do fall short, but I know that God is faithful and in the end and he will work all things for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose. My hope and prayer is that you too will come to understand and know God this way. My prayer and hope for you is that you will see his goodness when a trial or adversity comes your way.