“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Trials of life cloud our vision and make us stumble off our foundations. James tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). This is a word of Truth we can faithfully hold on to, but when we are in the thick of the battles of life and our knuckles are white, sometimes we find our grip slipping. Life isn’t fair and we don’t understand what is going on, but we have a secret weapon no enemy nor battle can defeat. We have Holy Spirit, and we know God’s grace isn’t fair either. He reigns over us, protecting us during trials, guiding our way back to His everlasting, comforting arms, teaching us and drawing us closer to Him along the way of the journey.
When I was in the Middle East, most of my time there was spent in struggle against mental health – both personally, and watching those around me struggle with their own issues. But no one talked about it. They shied away from it, ignoring the signs and isolating the ones who struggled the most. For me, I found myself in an out-of-control downward spiral. I was a shell, walking to just get through another day, wondering why I was even there and what purpose I had. I questioned everything, and I forgot my calling.
Fortunately, I had an army of prayer warriors back home who did not forget my calling as a soldier, and who never once stopped praying for me. I found my journal of prayers prayed over me, and I found comfort as well as a spark of hope. The struggles still continued daily, but now I had hope and it made all the difference in the world. I drew close to God again, felt comfort from the prayers of those back home who loved me, and I learned how to fight spiritually by daily putting on my spiritual armor (Ephesians 6) the same way I daily put on my military armor. As God led me through the desert and back home, I journeyed toward healing and a new confidence in my walk with God. I once again stood firmly on my foundation, with new lessons learned and a clear vision. Continuing to heal my heart, I realized God is not surprised by anything and nothing is ever wasted. I remembered my calling as a soldier – a soldier in the United States Army, and a soldier in the Army of God. I am letting Him lead me, and I am enjoying the view as I follow along the way.
Take comfort today and allow the God of the universe to know your deepest heart secrets. Don’t hold back, for He can use it all. He is not surprised by anything that has, or will, happen to you. It is all for a purpose, and ultimately He just wants your heart close to His.
Enjoy the view,