Trials: The Fragrant Joy of Suffering

This blog brought to you by Zach and Abi Schneider, friends of our ministry.

Trials are more than just tough, they can be suffocating. And then doubts run through your mind. “I can’t be strong enough to handle this. God wouldn’t do this to me. What if I never make it through this? What if I never live to see the miracle? Are my prayers being heard? If they’re being heard, why do I still ache in silence?” It’s okay to simply just endure the hard times. It’s okay to melt into the floor of your room and feel God’s presence holding you. As long as we’re leaning into His presence, He will be there to hold us. But the way to experience a breakthrough and the fullness of God is to rejoice. That might be hard to hear, especially when you are currently working through a trial, but there’s a reason that it’s written in His Word.

God's Word Says...

“...but we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” Romans 5:3-5

As these words are written, it does not come from a place of “Been there, done that, now my life is great.”  Everyone has their own battles they face every day. Both Zach and I recognize our own battles and God is still carrying each of us through them. This we can promise, there is no feeling more freeing than rejoicing, dancing, smiling, and worshiping the Lord in the midst of a trial. He created us to worship Him, so it makes sense why our hearts are able to overflow in moments like this.

Can We Feel His Presence in Trials?

We are not immune to experiencing difficult times in our lives. God promises that as long as we have Him in our heart we are never alone. You never have to navigate things on your own. He knows you by name. He knows how to nudge you to move. And He is gentle in spirit and makes His powerful presence known in the exact moment you need it. This creates the craving to explore the mystery of God. We pray that as you read these words, you would grow to crave more of Him. When you rejoice in a trial, this allows you to thrive, craving and depending on Him.

There is a song from Abbie Gamboa, called “Moonflower”. The moonflower is a type of flower that flourishes in the night. Near the end of the song, she sings the lyrics “Though [the moonflower] is lovely in the light… the darkness makes the fragrance rise.” This is a beautiful image that in the midst of a dark time, Christ’s love becomes fragrant. By this we mean, God’s presence is evident. God allows us to be as near to Him as we choose to be. This is when our rejoicing produces the endurance of faith, which gives us hope.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

We can’t confidently say we’ve successfully rejoiced through every trial in life. God’s grace comes through in the midst of our stubbornness. But the times that we have chosen to rejoice are when we’ve truly gotten the privilege of experiencing the fullness of God’s presence.

Our Love Story

Being newlyweds, you would think that Zach and I haven’t experienced many “real” trials throughout our time together. We love our love story, how God brought us together, and how much we’ve grown, but there has been much pain and molding to get us here.

While we are not perfect, both of us have been moved by God to train our hearts and our minds to lean into Him when we are going through a trial. We pray over and encourage one another in truth. This is because we know God graciously gave us each other to have this marriage signify His unconditional love for us. In order to maintain that, there is always work to be done in our hearts. We have to invite His Word to bring us back to a place that is humbly surrendered to Him every single day.

Both of us lean into the simplicity of His truth. It’s the child-like faith that moves us. This may look different for others, but the reality is, it’s not complicated. Your situation is complicated, the trials are messy, but God’s presence is not.

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