I am so thankful for how God used the progressive nature of last year’s trial to grow Sarah’s and my faith step by step. I’m grateful for those days when we had to fight for our faith in desperation and pain. That time illuminated then just as it continues to do now for me the stark contrast between the temporal and eternal. Each experience drove us in dependence to our knees, molded our characters, and made plain the reality of the firm knowledge this world isn’t our home. Gratitude for pain in the moment is hard and we struggled with that last year. As I look back though, I rejoice in what God wrought in both of our lives through Sarah’s trials.
Friends, you don’t have to face quite the same circumstances to reap the benefits of the Holy Spirit’s conviction though! Perhaps visualize yourself in similar circumstances as us last year and ask God to show you what ought to be changed. And when trials do come, be thankful for these gifts, what one of my favorite authors Vaneetha Rendall Risner called “gifts wrapped in black but gifts nonetheless,” because of how they can refine your faith and bring glory to God (James 1).
Sarah wrote the following in her journal one year ago today and these words now preach truth to all the rest of us still walking through our earthly journey.
“This weekend I found myself facing many life – impacting obsessions and concerns that I had refused to acknowledge – and/or I was just wilfullly ignoring that these sin-issues were a significant hindrance to my walk with my Heavenly Father….I have been continually consumed with my own needs/wants/selfish desires – much more than being consumed with what is most important to my Heavenly Father: simply trusting in, and obeying Him alone! In Christ alone my hope is found.
Even though we most often think we want to know what the future is going to hold … truly, it is trials like these that remind me how wise our Heavenly Father is, in *not* revealing what’s to come. Because I could never have been able to take in the knowledge of what these last few weeks would hold, all at once. He is so wise, gracious, loving, and perfect – He knows exactly how to care for each one of His children, and to lead us along the path He has prepared for us.” – Sarah Kopp