Finding strength in times of trials
All of us have suffered through trials and difficulties at various times in our lives. I imagine that we can think of occasions when we handled some of those trials better than others. It can be helpful to think back, then analyze why this is the case. I believe the times in which we are successful in finding the strength to surmount difficulties or trials is when we took the time to think about and ask for discernment and help from the Lord. Isaiah 41:10 bolsters this idea…”Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
As individuals, we develop strength by suffering through, then surmounting trials. While we must acknowledge that we’ve gained strength, we are required to realize that it is given to us through the divine help and intervention of our Lord.
Other sources of strength can be developed through our religious congregations, parents, grandparents, siblings and trusted friends; the point being is that we don’t have to solve everything ourselves. Once we get used to the idea that we can ask for help when we need it, then being of a ready and willing assistance to other people when they find themselves in the periods of trial or despair, we will have gone a long way toward fulfilling the commandments which we have been given throughout the scriptures.
Excellent guidance is given to us in James 1:5-6 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing waivering. For he that waivereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed.
My spouse, Diana, passed away from a very serious and aggressive form of cancer two and one half years ago, known as ALL Leukemia. The time from her initial diagnosis to her death was only about seven months. We had been married for 31 years and known each other for 36 years. During that time I’d seen many examples of her deep faith and her willingness to prayerfully ask for strength when she needed it.
She faced monumentally difficult challenges through her period of illness, but she never lost faith in nor her love for our Lord. Her faith and trust in the Lord fed her throughout this serious and eventually fatal illness. About three weeks before her passing, she had a vision of my mother, Helen Dewaele, who had passed away two years prior. In that vision, Diana reported that she had been looking up at the sky one day, then suddenly a very low hanging cloud parted and she saw the image of my mother looking down at her in a very loving and concerned way. We believed this to be a very visual and comforting way of showing the Lord’s love for Diana. We also believed this was a sign that she was about to leave this earth.
After Diana passed away, I kept coming across little verses and sayings which she found helpful. One was “endure to the end”, that was in her own handwriting. Matthew 24:13 states “But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” She also had a habit of giving “mini prayers” as she put it, throughout the day when she felt the need to. We are asked by the Lord to do this very thing.
Personally, I look upon her memory as an example of overcoming obstacles and strength as a source of strengthening during my own periods of doubt or despair. Now more than ever, I/we need to draw upon our own wells of strength to weather the storms we are all experiencing this very day.