You are right where you need to be.

Have you recently felt a desire to rush past a chapter in your life and move on to the next (hopefully) better one? I know I have felt that desire many times throughout my life—more so because of the recent troubles of this past year.

Yellow graphic with rusty red "grow through what you go through" with a bouquet of flowers underneath it.

Trials are a hot topic right now, and rightfully so. We all have had trials of some type recently, whether big or small. Sometimes when we are in the midst of those trials, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and the opportunities for spiritual growth that they can offer to us. We tend to think about our current sufferings instead of resting in God’s providence as promised in scripture such as Jeremiah 29:11 which says ”'For I know the plans I have for you' — this is the Lord's declaration — 'plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope'" (CSB).

When we are in the middle of trouble, we do not normally think "Wow, I am so happy that I am going through this right now”! More commonly, we think "When will this be over?" or "If only I could get past this chapter of my life and be at X, Y, or Z chapter that I hope to be at in the future”. Commonly we focus on how quickly we can get out of a difficult situation rather than focus on how we can take advantage of the opportunities that God has given us in those situations.

Instead of focusing on how to get out of a tough chapter of your life, think about how you can place God in the center of it. Questions such as “How can God use me in this chapter?”, “How can God work in my heart to make me more like Him?”, and “How can God turn my pain into purpose?” can quickly shift your perspective to a much more meaningful one.

The chapters in your life may not be tough but may look more like fear of the unknown. Recently, I experienced this firsthand. I was going through a trial and I remember wondering what the future of that trial would look like. When I brought my concerns to God, I could hear the words ”You are right where I want you”. Those words were not just comforting but they were eye-opening! That experience that I went through had difficulties, yes, but I learned so much through it, and I am so thankful for that! As I think back over that experience, I realize what God meant by those words, and I can see how I grew through that process. It made me realize that, even amid my unknown, God was working in me and placed me where I was for a reason. He had a purpose for that trial, even if I was unaware or unsure of it at the time.
Can you relate? I think we all can in some way or another. While suffering, we can stand firm in the knowledge that God is in control of everything and hold onto Romans 8:28 that reads "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose". When you are in the middle of a trial, that is easier said than done, I know, and I have to remind myself of it constantly. But, what does that verse mean for you and me and our daily lives? Everything we go through can be purposeful—yes, even the hard things.

Whatever your challenging chapter is, let God in. Take a step back and ask yourself, “How is He sharpening me at such a time as this?”, “How can I use this suffering as the necessary prerequisite for meaningful growth?”, “How can I give into His will for me right this moment?”, “How can I love on those around me more and learn through this refining process?”, and “What is He teaching me right now?”. That process will look different for each of us but, there is always an equally important opportunity for God to cultivate our hearts to look more like His.“I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

You have probably heard the glass-in-the-fire metaphor before but I think that it is a perfect example for this topic: for glass to be made beautiful, it must go through the fire in order to be melted down and reshaped according to the vision of the glassblower. It must go through the hard process of heat and molding to be transformed into its predetermined purpose.

So, even if you don't feel like this chapter of your life is meaningful, know that He has a purpose for all things. Sometimes it just takes a major upheaval in our lives to make a major change. "Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4). When you go through hard times, do not let your heart be weighed down but "Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:13). When you go through hard times, there is a level of joy and celebration that can be found. It means that you are about to go through the refining process, and God has something beautiful in mind for you on the other side of it! Grow through what you go through. Take hold of His words as He says "You are right where you need to be”, and watch how He molds you into His beautiful creation that you were always meant to be. “The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. To him be dominion forever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11) ♥



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