In the hardest season of my entire life (our prodigal season), I was a total mess. In that test of faith, I failed.
If I could go back to that time, of course I would handle it differently now – on this side of God’s beautifully-crafted miracle. Hindsight gives us 20/20 vision. Right? While I struggled to not cry through each day for months and months, I wondered,
I’m a Christian. Why can I not handle this better?
Have you ever thought this same thing? If not, possibly you can at least relate. Of course we are hurting during tough seasons like that, but I learned a lot from my test failure.
Our Trial-Tested New Perspective
Number One: The Hope. Failure number one was how I grieved as if I had no hope. As believers, our hope is in Christ. We ALWAYS have hope because of Who He is – the Lord.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Hope doesn’t come from reading a simple Bible verse. It happens gradually when you experience the closeness of God and trod the tough days of the journey together. One step at a time.
Number Two: The Trust and Endurance. It’s a matter of trust (which I lacked in that season, ahem, huge failure number two). I could no longer face life if it meant I had to watch my child live a life of sin for the rest of my days. One Christian friend advised, “Well, you’re just going to have to accept it.” Other people I know have accepted similar. They believe it is required in order to keep their child in their life in some way, and I was expected to do the same. As for me, I could not (nor cannot still) imagine following their example and remaining faithful to God..
I knew our situation grieved the Lord as much as it did me. God whispered to me (loudly and clearly) early in our journey that He would bring our daughter back and to show her His love. Why couldn’t I stand on what He said? Did I believe God, or not? Did I trust Him? Obviously not, as my continual grieving displayed.
My main spiritual gift was and is the gift of faith. How could that be true, when I clearly lacked trust in the Lord? Doesn’t faith include trusting? Yes, it does. I had to learn to trust on a whole new level – with the life of my child.
Do you also struggle with trust? Do you believe God?
Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:10)
Sometimes you literally have to force yourself to stand in trust of God. To say to the Lord every day when you wake up, “I trust You with my situation today, Father.” And do that every day until you just do. Until you no longer have to remind yourself. You just do. You trust. And that changes everything.
About a year after our child went on walkabout, I finally was able to trust God. At the beginning of every hard season, I beg God to teach me quickly what it is He wants me to learn. To impart to me what He wants me to know. And hurry up about it, God!
As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. (John 6:45)
If I had reached that point of believing in hope and trusting through Jesus’s power earlier, would our prodigal have returned sooner? Perhaps, but there were so many lessons (and blessings) in that season. God has perfect timing, and He knows when we are complete in it.
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
What does it look like to be perfected and completed in a hard season? It means that in the next hard season that comes along, satan will not knock you down. He was conquered through Jesus, yes! And, below in number three, you will see that it’s about partnering with the Lord and learning to conquer satan personally, too. Learning how to stand strong individually, you with the Lord by your side, through the power of Jesus. Amen!
Number Three: Becoming Battleworthy. In our own personal battle with satan, we have to learn to use God’s armor and claim it in victory. In your battle through the mind, we have to know how to fight (which I lacked experience for, bringing failure number three). Not that I only had three failures. There were more, but we don’t have all month to unwind and review it all. 😉
The tougher the season, the more battleworthy we become. Survival requires it. At the close of the hard season, we are more of a threat than ever to satan. Not because of us but because of Jesus.
Being battleworthy means we have learned to fight with God’s word and stand on His promises. Firmly standing. In faith. We learned through battle experience how to be combat ready. Ready with our armor in place (Ephesians 6:11-20). In your tough season of battle, you will (possibly like never before) want to study Ephesians to learn how to use your armor.
As you work from your head (helmet of salvation) to your feet (for God’s peace) and all in between, God is completing you. The Lord is perfecting you to stay alert and pray for not only you and your family but all believers everywhere.
For, look around, church! Rather than whispering gossip about your neighbor in a storm, go alongside them and bolster them in faith – no matter their current position in their faith journey. Both the weak and the strong need you.
Believers everywhere are facing devastation and destruction from satan. But he will not win. We have victory in the Lord, and WE STAND STRONG!
Because He lives!