As a Christian, I have gone through many countless trials. It seems like every year has the same results – the crying, the thoughts of feeling hopeless, even suicidal thoughts. I often wonder, Jesus, how am I going to make it through? At times I feel as if the world is crumbling in all around me with nowhere to run. Then I always catch myself and revert back to what I have known – a life in Jesus Christ.
Going through these trials in life has taught me a lesson to never waver in faith. As a person who teaches the gospel, there are many ways the enemy (Satan) can attack us. God has given me the talent to write books and the gift to teach, and in that I take great pleasure in working for the Lord. That is why I am bombarded on all sides to the point where I ask, “God, why must I feel this way?” During those moments, I am so wrapped up in my feelings that I forget who is right beside me.
Being a child of God, I do realize that I must have what is called “valley experiences.” A valley experience is when things that you think can’t go wrong do. In those times, the enemy develops strategies to try to get us to give up and turn from Jesus. But no, not me. When I dedicated my life back to Christ 21 years ago, I made up my mind that I was in it to win it. No more turning back to the life that I had always felt comfortable with – a life of sin. Giving my life to God, I had to come out of my comfort zone with the things that I was accustomed to.
During this year, I lost my job, my identity was stolen, I was in danger of foreclosure on my home, and the employer that let me go tried to stop me from receiving benefits, in which there was a hearing. It was three of them against me. All of this happened within a 1 ½ month period. But in this tribulation, the Lord often stated, “Be still,” and that was all I needed to hear to give me assurance. (And by the way, I won the case.)
In 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, the Apostle Paul had a valley experience. Remember when he had a thorn in his side and he asked the Lord to remove it? Well, God allowed the messenger from Satan to attack him for two reasons: 1. to keep Paul humble because the apostle had so much knowledge of the Word; and when people have that knowledge, they tend to boast and become “bigheaded.” 2. The enemy was trying to stop Paul from teaching the gospel, in other words setting up roadblocks to keep him from succeeding.
What was done to Paul is still being done today. Every time I have these experiences, I think on this particular thing and realize that God still has His hand on me.
God also uses these experiences to prune us. In the valley we are also the soil. When we first committed our life to Christ, a seed was planted. The Lord gave us part of Him through the precious Holy Spirit who is our helper, comforter, and teacher. As we mature in Christ, the Spirit manifests Himself more and more.
There is no end to building a relationship with Christ because The Word always has something in it that we have not yet explored. By wisdom we gain discernment, both given by God. In this we get guidance to make just decisions and sense things beyond in which the carnal man can relate. Every day we are constantly building a solid foundation to build a structure (our lives) to the complete satisfaction desired by God. The seed within us (which is also the Word, the Bible) takes root to help us grow into the people that Jehovah God has called us to be.
Being a true follower of Christ isn’t easy; He did not promise it would be. Like Him, we also will be crucified – some physically by martyrdom, some emotionally and mentally. When we become part of Christ, we will also suffer as He did. We all must face the garden experience (Garden of Gethsemane) when we feel as if we cannot go on because of the pressures of this life. But beloved Jehovah’s will must be done, just as the Savior submitted to this will.
As mentioned above, like Paul was humbled through his valley, so must we be. Are you willing to sacrifice your all to show Jesus your faithfulness at all cost? Are you ready to make your election sure in your calling? (2 Peter 1:10-11). It comes with the territory because the enemy, Satan, prowls like a roaring lion to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). He will always stay busy to keep us from spreading the gospel, for it is the gateway that leads to salvation.
So, what stops us from unbelief? Is it because we cannot see what is ahead and are afraid? Or do some of us think that we can’t bear the fire? Beloved, unbelief is one of the most intolerable things that are unacceptable to God. Therefore, we must have faith because “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
In Mark chapter 9 verses 23-25, it tells of a boy with an impure spirit (demon). The boy’s father cries out to Jesus to help his unbelief because Jesus mentioned that “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23). Believe me; the Father cannot work in our circumstances with unbelief. Is this the reason why God is not moving in our cities as we ask? Well, in order for Him to move, there has to be enough people to believe within our communities; this is called being in one accord. It pleases Him when we demonstrate faith for the reason that it signals our dependence on Him and, in our situations, causes Him to believe that we know He is enough.
Valleys are tests to see whether we have enough faith to pass. Believe that you will walk through the fire unscathed.
When I was at work one day, me and an up-and-coming Nurse Practitioner were conversing about our experiences in life. She said that she told her grandmother that she wanted to do what God called her to do. Her grandmother replied, “I don’t think that you can handle it,” and that is because the fire in the kitchen is going to get hot when following our God-given purposes. But with Christ we can make it.
That is why we must be absolutely sure that we are ready to face these valleys. Know that you are victorious in any trial that is allowed in your life. Nothing is beyond God’s jurisdiction that He cannot handle; remember, He can do anything but fail. For “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). In the end there will be a crown of life waiting for us when we stand before Christ on that glorious day. Beloved, our greatest blessings come from our toughest battles.
In my walk with Christ, I have to come to terms that I am no longer a slave to sin, but righteousness. The road is narrow, and few find it. I am one of them, the ones who are willing to go through the fire to advance the kingdom for our Savior Jesus. The fire that I feel on the inside comes out in tears like a flowing river, reaching into the heart of God. All the while He has me wrapped in His arms comforting me; for you see, love is the greatest joy ever.
Yes, the same God that told Paul, “My grace is sufficient,” is the same God that goes with me every day. Yesterday, today, and forever He is the same and is in control of my circumstances. In that, I am free.
Kathy E. Dockett