Several summers ago I entered a very difficult season of life. I didn’t know it then – I thought it was just a really hard trial that would last for a while and then disappear. Looking back now, I can see very clearly that it was the Lord establishing my steps as He lovingly worked in my life. (Proverbs 16:9)
The past can be painful, bitter and hard to face. It’s difficult to look back over a period of life and relive the change, heartache, disappointment or grief that it held. This line from our Sunday service last week resonated with me –
The past is not about me. The past is about God and His faithfulness.
How can I make the past about God and not about me? It starts with how I live in the present.
One very practical way to do that is to keep a journal. When I entered that difficult season a couple years ago, I was advised by a wise person to write down the things God was teaching me. I’m so thankful that I did!
When I turn the pages of that journal, I see the roller coaster that is life. Emotions ranging from heartache and despair to joy and thankfulness fill the pages and bring back vivid memories. Below the lines of honest and transparent emotions, I wrote the truth that I was clinging to at that moment.
Whether it was a line from a song, a quote from a message or a Scripture verse or passage, writing it out helped me to claim it as my own. Those truths became just as real to me as the emotions that preceded them.
The greatest blessing of a trial is the intimate walk with Jesus you can gain because of it. Life is full of trials – and full of opportunities to walk closely with Jesus. The pages of my journal make me so thankful for God’s love that has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:5)
In every trial we are faced with a choice. Those who go down to the pit do not hope for God’s faithfulness. (Isaiah 38:18) We can either turn from God in self reliance, bitterness and anger, or we can turn to God and put our hope in His unfailing love and faithfulness.
If you are in a difficult season, I hope you’ll take this challenge and begin to write down what God is teaching you. It might not seem like He is teaching you anything. When you allow His word to speak to your heart each day, you can apply those truths to the things you feel.
It might take a while, but you’ll be able to look back and see His loving hands – and the beauty in suffering.