“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
Jesus spoke to His followers of both abundant life and of trouble. These two things may seem contradictory, but my experience verifies that God’s children will have both. As I have dealt with the ups and downs of life, particularly of parenting five sons, I have experienced joyful seasons as well as darker times. I learned, with one son’s heart transplant, that a single situation can bring great heartache as well as immense joy. Despite this knowledge, I am sometimes overwhelmed by new difficulties, forgetting that they, too, will culminate with days of rejoicing. When difficult days turn into difficult seasons, it is easy to forget past victories and the promise of future joy.
My current challenge is trying to understand and respond effectively to the needs and behaviors of two adopted sons. Too often I fail to convince them of the security and love that are now theirs, and on some days, despite my desire to help, I have added to the pain they carry. These failures weigh heavily on me here in the middle of the journey.
When difficult days turn into difficult seasons, it is easy to forget past victories and the promise of future joy.Click to tweet
Even though Jesus promised, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” our load will not be easy or light if we try to carry it in our own strength, or if we project our current troubles into the future. However, if we look forward in hope for the solutions God will provide, today’s burdens do get lighter. In my seeking, God has reminded me of some helpful things:
- Be still. I am so inclined to do. My first instinct is to apply the scientific method to my spiritual life, relying on my own observations and conclusions to formulate a plan. While that might work well in the physical world, God wants us to go beyond what we can see. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, but He will reveal them to us when we become still and wait on Him.
- Look up. When I am overburdened, I generally can’t digest huge portions of Scripture, but I still need God’s input on my problems. It is a good time to revisit basic truths and meditate on them. Corrie ten Boom suggested making a mental list of our burdens and then asking the Holy Spirit to address each of them with appropriate Scripture. As I meditate on God’s Word, my mind is renewed. I see afresh God’s nearness, His goodness, and His ability and desire to deliver us.
- Zoom out. Sometimes I look at my troubles under a microscope. They are so huge in my field of view that they obscure my vision. Taking a step back and looking at the big picture again is crucial. From there we can see our past victories and the trajectory God has us on. He is still aiming us for success! Remember that God is developing us in important ways, for our good and the good of others, and He uses everything, including trials and troubles in the process.
- Be real. I’ve raised three rambunctious boys, and I’m a former teacher, but I am not equipped for my current child-rearing challenges. Although I don’t always have the answers, I still firmly believe there are answers. When I am beyond the help of family and friends, God provides help from other sources. For me, help is coming through research, an adoption support group, and a family therapist. Sometimes it’s a painful and humbling process, but I try to remember that conquerors aren’t timid creatures.
- Wait courageously. Only God can bring healing and lasting change to our deep problems. He does that as we stay close to Him, love Him, and wait on Him. Though it takes time, we must face the trials of each day with courage and confidence borne of faith. He will bring the victory in His time.