We referenced a verse in Sunday School today that really got me thinking about the other adoptive parents I share life with and how their example of glorifying God in the midst of their trials has encouraged me in my faith.
2 Cor 4:16-17 says "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
If you are like me, you like to unpack verses like that and try to answer the question- So what now?
How do we not lose heart? How are we being renewed? And by all means would someone please tell me how this struggle is going to achieve some eternal glory?
I think I may have a process for you or at least some check points to help you walk out your trials in a way that is God honoring. Here you go.
1. Pray and state the desire of your heart for your circumstances. I believe this is key because we need to be honest with God and ourselves about where we are in the situation if we are going to be able to hear from Him. I think an important note to make here is that this is not where we whine to God but where we speak honestly too him. I don't know about you, but parenting teaches me a ton about how I relate to God. Think about how you would want your children to approach you regarding a circumstance that you allowed in their life that they didn't like.
2. Pray for God to allow you to see the situation as He sees it. I think this comes 2nd because we have to be real honest with ourselves about how we really do see it first. I also believe that in order to successfully walk out this step we must to lay down our right to make it all about me. We need to surrender rights like finding joy in the attention our circumstance bring us. Ouch I know that was harsh. But if you find your identity in your circumstance and how you view it, it is going to be hard to view it from God's perspective. Girls I only say it like it is because I have been there. Trust me.
3. Claim what you know to be true. This is where having God's word on your heart plays a big role. If you aren't a walking concordance, that is okay because there are some great ones out there for you to use. You might try going to Bible Gateway and entering in a key word. It will give you everything that Bible has to say about that topic and in the translation of your choice. The reason this step is so important is because there is an enemy who is going to tell you all kinds of lies in your ear and you have to be able to combat him with the truth of God's Word.
4. Having already glorified Him by relating to him honestly, seeking to see it from His perspective, and claiming the truth of His Word, you now ask the question of how does God want to use your experience to advance His kingdom? He may call you to speak into the life of someone else in a similar struggle, give your testimony, write a book, or maybe a blog entry. I don't know what He will do but I do know that because of the faithfulness of those who have gone before me, I am who I am today.
There is a lie in Christian circles that goes like this, "God will never give me more than I can handle". Bologna. That is so not true. I believe that God regularly allows us to walk through more than we can handle because those are the times when we lay down our self reliance and turn our eyes toward Him. Otherwise we would be a bunch of self-righteous brats running around convinced we didn't need God because we already had it all under control.
You see the crisis is not in what if God gives you more than you can handle but instead what are you going to do about it when He does. I am thankful tonight for women like Stefanie over at Ni Hao Yall, Jenn at Love Like Crazy, Ann at Our Place Called Home, and Linny at A Place Called Simplicity who have modeled for me what it looks like to honor God in the midst of trials as they live their lives in abandonment to their calling as opposed to their understanding.