Cancer. Loss of a loved one. A House Fire. These are all major life crises that a few of us are called to face. Yet when we do, we often evoke the sympathy and support of our church family and believing friends. And so it should be.
But what about having to daily care for an invalid relative for years? Or living from paycheck to paycheck for months on end. Living with a painful, yet unknown condition. Laboring on a mission field and seeing no fruit. Facing month after month…or year after year of infertility. Suffering daily criticism for your walk with God. Or grief from a major trial that lingers on indefinitely. Or maybe just living with a car that never works.
These are the burdens that many are called to bear much more frequently. And yet, most do so in secret. Oh, there may be an occasional mention here and there. Or perhaps a prayer request is brought up a few times a year. But the chronic emotional, physical, or spiritual pain goes, for the most part, unseen and unnoticed by others.
Then there are the unseen trials that are unique to the person, situation, and circumstances. Trials, that if shared with others, could only be understood inadequately, and no words could express depth of sorrow and grief which the trial inflicts on its sufferer.
It is here, in these quiet trials, that the doubts may arise, incessant questions flood the mind, and the soul is worn down. At times, in great anguish, such a heart cries out for God to bring along the “bigger’ trials, yearning for attention and compassion that the publicly afflicted receive. And yet the days, months, years go by.
“How, long, O Lord?”
And yet, behind it all, is a gracious, sovereign God directing the smallest details of our lives for His glory.
Realizing this is the first step to seeing God amidst our quiet trials. Trust in a sovereign God is a firm foundation in the midst of crumbling circumstances. Trust in God—not just what He can do for us. Because the trials endure, so must our trust in God. It is a stream in the desert that fills our deepest longings.
Beyond trusting God, we must pour out our hearts before God. He is not only sovereign, but our sweet Savior. We must appropriate His grace in our lives daily. He is tender, and merciful, and willing to let the heavy laden come to Him for rest. O the sweet communion that can only come when we are driven to our knees through inconceivable circumstances!
It was Habakkuk, who wrote about the woes of Israel, and yet being able to rejoice in the joys of his salvation. Listen to the words he shares:
Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither [shall] fruit [be] in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and [there shall be] no herd in the stalls…
Wow! Life was pretty tough for Habakkuk-even worse than the trouble he probably had pronouncing his name!
Here’s what was going on:
All that he/Israel did seemed to be in vain, though the labor was honest and hard work.
Do you ever feel like everything that you do is without a cause? That no matter how hard you try, you have no success?
Everything that was being attempted here failed!
But this is not the end of the story! Habbakuk knew his Savior, and was set upon keeping his faith in him.
In Habakkuk 3:18, Habakkuk determines that he will look to his Savior for his joy:
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk does not stop here-he goes on to determine that the Lord IS HIS STRENGTH! And He is!
Hab 3:19 The LORD God [is] my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ [feet], and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.
He alone can satisfy; He alone gives strength!
So it is here, also, in these quiet, unknown trials, that we see God. That we grow closer and closer, and that we, in turn, are able to comfort others as we have been comforted. Weary ones, come to Him!.