When loved ones go through hard things, I pray that they may be drawn closer to God in all that is happening to them. I know that trials have the potential to turn people away from rather than to God.
In thinking through some of the reasons God allows suffering recently, part of me marveled that God would risk the negative reactions some people would have. Some get angry and rail against God or the universe or their loved ones. Some fear and panic.
But faith is strengthened by testing. And some people won’t turn to God until they are put in a position where there is no other choice.
Thankfully, as the psalms indicate, many work through the bad reactions, remind ourselves of what we know to be true about God, and rest in Him
As we experience this current pandemic, I’ve seen a variety of reactions already. Many are tense and on edge in the face of uncertainties: health of self and loved ones, possible lost time from work, shortage of supplies.
Hudson Taylor once said, “It does not matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies — whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart.”
Let these current trials and pressures draw you to Him. Don’t let them come between you. He knows what’s going on in the world. He is wise, kind, loving, and good. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He has promised to supply all our needs.
Do the practical things: wash hands, disinfect, avoid crowds. etc. But in faith. And, as Laura said, watch out for others who night need extra help in times like this.
A stanza in Henry Lyte’s hymn, “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken,” says:
Man may trouble and distress me, ‘twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me; heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me while Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me, were that joy unmixed with Thee.
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Barbara, you are so right. We need to put God at the very center of our lives. Trials are an opportunity to look at our relationship with God and draw even nearer. Great post!
Thanks so much, Laurie. In my early Christian life, trials used to make me feel unloved or question God’s working. Hopefully now I have come to trust that He is up to something good in everything He does and allows.
Such wisdom you have shared with us here, Barbara! Thank you for reminding us that God is not surprised by this pandemic and His desire is to draw us close to Himself. These words, “But faith is strengthened by testing” gives us the perspective to focus on. I love the Hudson Taylor (one of my heroes of the faith) quote.
Thank you, Dianna. HT is one of my heroes, too. I tend to think my faith doesn’t “need” testing–but God knows better. 🙂
I admit I’ve been more anxious the past several days as everything is changing so quickly, but I’m grateful for a God who can calm me back down and remind me that he is indeed good. Thanks for these encouraging words, Barbara.
I was, too, especially the first few days all this news and change started. Anxiety still arises in odd moments, but I am trying to let God use them to turn my heart and hope all the more to Him.
I love that hymn and have not thought of/heard it in years! This is such a soothing, comforting post to read; full of thoughts we need to remember now. What seems so shocking about it (to me at least) is just how suddenly things have been happening. My “organ church” met Sunday, which was nice, but with the new numbers guidelines dropping that may not happen Sunday. And the possibility of not going to church on Easter is just crazy. Thank goodness Jesus is with us always, regardless of physical location or anything else going on.
I know–so many things happened so quickly. I haven’t seen anything like this before. I saw a tweet that said something like “Maybe huddling in homes wondering what’s going to happen next, like the first disciples, is the most Easter-y thing we can do.”
Barbara, this is beautiful. And your words are spot on. I especially loved this Hudson Taylor quote: “It does not matter how great the pressure is. What really matters is where the pressure lies — whether it comes between you and God, or whether it presses you nearer His heart.”
Thanks for sharing pieces of your wisdom this morning. In the midst of fearful situations, we have to choose to keep our thoughts and hearts fixed on the Lord. He is the Giver of Peace in the middle of fearful times.
Thank you, Jeanne. I’m learning it is a discipline to turn my heart and thoughts the right direction.
What a fantastic quote, and I haven’t heard anything from HT for a long time!
Suffering of all types can either drive us closer to God or get in the way of our right relationship with him. Oh, it’s time for a test for all of us!
I tend to think my faith is just fine and doesn’t need testing. But God knows better. 🙂
i love this Hudson Taylor quote!! I’m encouraged that my unsaved/unbelieving friends are now starting to ask me about the power of prayer…I know it’s due to this panic mode so many are in. I confess I’m a bit miffed that I cannot teach for who knows how long….but i understand it…..i’m trying to focus on the fact that Jesus is here. now. and isn’t gonna leave us. Great post Barbara!!
Knowing that God is always with us no matter the circumstances is a great help. I do pray this draws unbelievers to see their need of Him.
May we trust ultimately in him. Visiting today from the purposeful faith link up. laurensparks.net
Amen. Thank you, Lauren.
I love the Hudson Taylor quote, and your encouraging words too! It makes such a difference to know that we have God to turn to in times of trial, and surely if we are able to respond with faith to the current situation it will point others to the hope we have in him too.
Thank you, Lesley! I hope it’s a good testimony that even though we may struggle with trials, we know where to turn and in whom to hope.
Barbara, this is GREAT and so timely! This is a great time for us, as Christians, to reach out, show our faith in God and make a difference in the lives of others—especially those who don’t currently share that faith. Such a GREAT opportunity!!! Thank you for posting these reminders!
Pinned and will share to the IE Facebook.
Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
Thank you, Patsy. May we shine His light.
Wonderful quote – thanks for sharing it…as well as your wise words of encouragement.
Thanks so much, Jennifer.
I love that quote, Barbara! I am often so afraid that my loved ones may pull away rather than draw closer to God during pressing times so it is my constant prayer that God would shine His light into their darkness and draw them to Him. I’m encouraged that God loves them even more than I do, and His plan is good.
I often fear that, too, when loved ones who don’t know the Lord or aren’t walking closely with Him go through something. I pray along with you that God will draw them to Himself through all that He allows.
You know Barbara, in 1980’ish I ran away from God when my husband broke his marriage vows. I ran hard and fast – but God in His mercy let me go only so far when He began reeling in the lifeline. Yes, I had the choice to make – return or go farther away. I returned. I am so glad I did.
Thank you for that testimony, Susan. I am glad you did as well!
Yes, may these troubled times press me into the Lord. Trials do build faith and I know that many of us are being strengthened. Praying for those who want to turn from God – may the Holy Spirit woo them to Himself. Beautiful post!
Amen. Thank you, Bev.
Thank you for this powerful reminder! This is also my everyday prayer: that in all pressures we experience God directs our hearts to Him and draws us near!
I love the Hudson Taylor quote. I am reading a book now on him 🙂 so it was timely.
Oh, that’s neat! I’ve read a few biographies of him and have a book on his relationship with his wife on my shelf to read this year.
Very good thoughts, Barbara. When the pressure comes, and it will, we need to run to God. He is the only One who can give peace and comfort that will last, because He is always with us. Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #Grace&Truth.
Thank you, Gayl. You’re so right, trouble of one sort or another *is* going to come in every life. You’ve just reminded me of an old song Hale and Wilder used to sing called, “Where Shall I Run” — I’ll have to look it up. I think it was based on Psalm 139, a reminder that God is the only worthy One to turn to.
Solid Truth for every trial we could ever face. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for linking up with Grace and Truth this week
Thanks so much, Valerie.
Thank you for this pertinent post. The reminder to know that God supplies all of our needs never grows old and is always needed.
That’s so true, Mary. It seems like no matter how often we’ve seen Him meet our various needs, we still need to be reminded in fresh ways that He can and will.
It is the perfect time to sit back and appreciate all the things we usually take for granted. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging
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