Facing Life's Trials and Tribulations

by Terri Althoff


                Recently, God has handed me some pretty big challenges.  Challenges, one might question why we are given some of the toughest situations in our every day life.  Your life is flowing along smoothly, things are great, one couldn’t ask for more. You tell people “My life could not be any better.  God really is taking care of me.”   You start to get very comfortable on easy street, so comfortable that you start slacking in three of the most vital importance’s, of one’s life... staying in the word, church/fellowship and prayer.

                Suddenly, you have forgotten to praise God when you wake every morning.  You forget to thank him for his blessings, comfort and protection as you go through your day.  You don’t  try to but when one is in their “comfort zone” they begin to turn their focus on earthly things instead of on God above.  Then, just when you think that nothing could go wrong, you hit rock bottom.  Suddenly, your life is shattered, crumbling before your eyes.  Panic sets in and soon you are grieving.  You ask “ Why God Why?”  “What have I done to deserve this?”  You tell God, as in my case, “Have I not suffered enough?”

                You see, in my case my life crumbled a year and a half ago.  After many years of working hard to keep things together, protect my children and provide a good family life for them.  One in which we did not always have.  But, for years I thought that Gods plan for me was to keep it together no matter the cost or what kind of destructive effect it had on my life.  At that time I was in the word every day, I prayed constantly and was very involved in my church.  I found myself screaming at God questioning him and then begging his forgiveness for subconsciously allowing Satan to have an inch of control.  I constantly had to remind myself to refocus, that God had a purpose for my suffering and that he had a better plan for me.  I remembered my faith and knew that he was just waiting on me.  Waiting on me to ask for him.  His hope for me was to stop trying to live my life alone, taking care of everyone around me, avoiding any help that I might need and thinking that I could do it myself. 

                I remember being on my knees one day, tears streaming down my face.  I humbled myself before God.  I was so tired and fragile.  I feared that I no longer had the strength to push on.  I can remember crying and telling God that I was sorry for my mistakes, for letting him down and most of all for being upset with the one person who has carried me my entire life, Jesus Christ.  I prayed to God that day and said “God, I am so tired.  I do not think that I can do this anymore.  Please God, tell me what you want me to do?  Help me God, please!” 

                Suddenly, there was such a peace surrounding me, a warmth that radiated through me.  And then I heard him.  He told me to surrender to him, to give him it all.  To lay it at his feet.  Most of all I can remember him telling me to be still, know that he is God, listen and wait.  It was amazing at how different I felt at that very moment.  Such a weight had been lifted from my life.  Slowly, things began to brighten.  I was praising God for saving me once again.  The sudden   changes in my life were amazing.  I had gained my strength back, only this time I became not only a stronger, more faithful Christian, I became the strong individual that God had intended for my life.

                My life started to get easier.  The tears dried up and I was facing things in my life.  Facing them with confidence and a strength that I never thought that I had.  I started to put my life back together again. 

                God is merciful and good.  He knows us inside and out.  And his plan for us is the ultimate plan for anyone’s life.  So, I started to get comfortable again.  Thanking God everyday for the many blessings in my life.  For my peace, my children, Scott, for my life.  Even though I was in God’s word, trying to walk in the paths that he was leading me I began to get back in that “comfort zone”.  And before long, my life started to shatter once again.   My health was failing, my job was suffering because of my health and the problems of the past began to come back to haunt me once again.

                And once again I found myself asking God why.  “What am I doing wrong God that I am once again faced with a fear that I can’t understand?”   

                I found myself re-evaluating myself in wonder as to where my weaknesses lay.  And the answers were quite clear.  I had to let go and let God. 

                You see, when we face darkness in our lives we sometimes forget that there is a comfort and a peace that is there waiting for us if only we open our hearts to receive it.  Facing life’s trials and tribulations is a mysterious component of our lives that only God understands.  

                I reflect on a passage from 1 Peter when he speaks to a group of Christians  who are suffering their faith.  Peter reminds them how much Jesus suffered.  Jesus suffered for us that we might have a life of faith and peace.  In 1 Peter he tells us that through our faith we are shielded by God’s power until Jesus returns again.  He tells us that while we rejoice in this we may have to suffer in all kinds of trials.  He tells in 1 Peter 7 “These (sufferings) have come so that your (our) faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  Jesus Christ suffered and died for us so that his glories would follow. 

                We need to trust God.  We need to be still and listen to God.  He is not going to tell us anything except for at his appointed time.  You might ask when?  There is a price to pay for every privilege.  Life will not always be fun.  One cannot go from dating to marriage without struggle.  We cannot go from our old ways to a reborn Christian without struggle. 

                We are to enjoy the season that we are in.  Enjoy the journey.  When we worry, we cannot enjoy life.  Allow God to take care of you.  Trust in him and believe in him for all things. 

                John 7 tells us that we all might think that the timing is always right, but Jesus told those at the feast of the tabernacle that “The right time for me has not yet come, for you anytime is right.”  If we take a look at our lives, our expectations of everyday Jesus was right. 

                Through trial and tribulation we are faced with the challenges that God has set before us.  I know that I am guilty of planning first then praying afterwards.  This is not God’s plan for us.  He wants us to pray first and then plan.  To learn to be sensitive to grace.  By being sensitive to grace, laying it in the Lord’s hand and then allowing him to do the work, we are filled with peace and enjoyment.  Let’s face it, outside of grace, we are miserable.  Am I right?    It does not work when God is not in it.  It ultimately has to be in God’s timing, not ours.  In times of trial and tribulation we must remember that God will not be late.  He may never be early, but he will not be late.  By trusting in him we find that God’s timing is always on time.  Trust God for the right time in your life. 

                When you face your trials in life take a look at those around you.  The key to peace about one’s suffering is to put your problems into perspective.  Look at the problems that you have, look at those around you and you might just find that you are thankful for the blessings that you have. 

                So, my friends I leave you with these thoughts to ponder on.....  Is it not better to cooperate with God and wait for him.  Is he not waiting on us?  Should we not remain stable, not get frustrated thus distracting us from Jesus?  We should stay focused.  Do we not tend to spend our lives running around putting out Satan’s fires?  We need to attend to God’s business and he will then attend to ours.  I feel that until we can learn to be happy where we are at, we cannot and will not get to the next place that God wants us to be.  We need to have a better attitude and learn how to deal with the difficult things that God gives us.  If we learn to have the victory during trials and tribulations we can be victorious in God’s almighty grace.  Now isn’t that something to give us a hope.  A hope of the unknown?  A hope that no matter how hard life is at times, God is still right there beside us waiting on us to give it to him. 

                So often people say to me “How can your faith be so strong with all that you have gone through and continue to go through?”  My friends, I tell you that no matter how much it hurts and how many times I ask the question why, my faith carries me through.  I don’t like what I have to face in life at times, but I do know that if I remain faithful, God will bless me in the end.  He finds a way to bring back my focus on what his plan is for me.  He wants me to be victorious in him and in carrying my faith and love and belief for him, I ultimately am victorious.  I am becoming the righteous woman that he has set out for me to be. 

                As I face my uncertainty and fears in life I know that I can face them with the understanding that if I just allow God to take it from me, to trust in him that I can face anything. 

                I leave you with my love and with this poem that my dear friend gave to me last year in one of the worst trials that I ever had to face.  It is a poem that I will read every day for the remainder of my life here on this earth.  The words are words that bring me to the peace that God wants for my life.  Remember to be still my friends and know that he is God.  And that he loves                 you so very much and will always be there just waiting.....  Never ever forget to wake each day thanking God for the blessings that he bestows upon your life  You might just find your day a little more peaceful!


As children bring their broken toys,

with tears for us to mend,

I brought my broken dreams to God,

because he is my friend.

But then instead of leaving Him

in peace to work alone,

I hung around and tried to help,

with ways that were my own.

At last, I snatched them back again

and cried, “How can you be so slow?”

“My child” He said, “What could I do? 

You never did let go.”

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