We’ve all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Right along with that is an often quoted bible verse, 1 Corinthians 10:13, where Paul is saying God will not tempt us beyond that which we can bear. It has also been turned into comforting words of God not giving us more than we can handle. Some respond with, “I wish God didn’t trust me so much then,” when they are going through an extremely heavy and burdensome situation.
We are not promised a life without problems, struggles or trials. When we are going through these troublesome times, though, we should ask God to help us. There have been times in my life when I know God is the only way I made it out of those low valleys. He provided strength to survive those awful times in my life.
Going through a horrendous ordeal will leave you with battle scars. Some actually have post traumatic stress disorder as a result of what they have been forced to face in this life. It is very real, and there are “triggers” which will throw them right back into something that happened in the past, as if they are there in that moment. I’ll never forget an older man struggling with scenes from Vietnam once he was triggered by an event happening in his life. Something seemed to sneak up behind him, tap him on the shoulder, and place traumatic events in his face. He could recall and describe in details the buttons on his fellow soldier’s uniform upon finding him fatally wounded. I couldn’t understand completely what he was going through since I was not there myself, but my heart went out to him seeing the pain reflected on his face.
I believe when we go through something traumatic in our lives, God will equip us to help another that crosses our path. Maybe it then becomes our job to be like a beacon in the night shining the light for them so they find their way through the stormy seas of life. Perhaps this explains my obsession with lighthouses knowing the ships were tossed around as swells threatened to capsize them. They struggle to get out of the storm and safely to shore but cannot find their way. They look out into the night sky amidst the lightening and torrential rain, and suddenly they see a light shining in the distance. This light will provide their way to safety and to sandy shores!
Now, God is certainly the light leading the way for believers. But I’ve been in situations before where people are really struggling and feel as if God may have turned His back on them. That is never the case, as if anyone moves it is US … not God. In their pain and anguish, they cannot feel His presence and don’t call out to Him. It is then that we step up and help, hoping to lead them back to God along the way.
I’ve also been in situations with non-believers, and my heart breaks at the thought of them not believing in God and not securing their future with Him. But it isn’t my job to judge, and I won’t try to force my beliefs down their throats either. What I will do is provide a listening ear, a helping hand they can reach out to when they feel their boat has capsized and they may drown. I can’t save them, only God can do that. But I can help them get back to safety and try with all my might to ensure they survive.
Having been bullied, dealing with a loved one’s mental illness, having been cheated on by a spouse, going through a divorce from hell with a narcissist, losing my sister to suicide, coping with the guilt of not being able to save her, enduring the special grief after losing someone to suicide, having survivor’s guilt, suffering a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and facing fertility issues afterwards, having a spouse struggle with pornography addiction … these are just a few things I have struggled with in life. These things could have taken me right out had I not leaned on God through it all. He provided strength to go through these devastating events in my life and still be able to stand tall and victorious today. These painful situations have equipped me to help others I encounter in life who may be struggling with these very same things, wondering how they will survive.
And I’ll be here … shining my light … offering my hand …