“Honey, I think we need to go to the hospital!” This was a statement I had heard four times before, as we anticipated the arrival of each of our wonderful children, God has blessed us with. This day, I found myself on the other side of this statement—I was actually saying these words!
At times, in life, we find ourselves looking squarely into the head-on collision of an unforeseen trial that may appear overwhelming in its uncertainties. What do you do? How do you respond? Is there purpose? How can we know? The list of questions seems daunting as we ponder the endless possibilities.
The words, “embrace” and “trial,” when put together, seem so foreign and contrary. Yet these two words were on my mind. A “trial” speaks of a hardship, something unwanted and unsolicited. An “embrace” speaks of warmth and love. For me it brings memories of my mother’s loving embrace—something I long for. So, how can these two words coexist in the same thought?
As I began the process of coming to grips with this current trial, the phrase, “Embrace the trial,” kept repeatedly coming to mind. It was something I couldn’t get out of my head. Soon I found myself taking this before the Lord to find His purpose of this seemingly contradictory phrase. What the Lord showed me was both refreshing and humbling. The fog began to burn off with the view before me coming into focus. And then with great clarity this purpose statement came to rest at the forefront of my mind. “Embrace the trial—that I may know Him and glorify Him.”
In the process of coming to grips with this trial, a dear friend of mine challenged me to write a poem. Naturally, I laughed at the thought. Actually, I think I laughed out loud when he said it. Writing isn’t my area of expertise, although I enjoy sharing God’s truths through the written word. Later that evening, I found myself actually considering his challenge.
So, with pen in hand I began to pour my heart out on the page. I was amazed at how therapeutic I found the process, as it was good medicine for my soul. What came out was the struggle of the trial expressed in a conversation with my loving, heavenly Father. I was amazed at how easily the words flowed. With the recurring line “Embrace the trial,” God has been reassuring me of His love, like the tender reminder of a father encouraging his son to embrace what is best, despite the painful process. With His gracious Word of truth, He was reminding me to trust Him because He is trustworthy. Paul states, “Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Through these words He continues to remind me of His sovereign purpose of conforming me into the image of His dear Son.
God’s GOAL for me is to KNOW HIM, in order to GLORIFY HIM, as I am changed to be LIKE HIM. This is His goal for every soul in every trial. This is the purging process—the crucible of affliction that God, in His loving providence, sees fit to bring about the change that He desires. It has been said that this is the process by which the Spirit of God, takes the Word of God and transforms us into the likeness of the Son of God.
Paul writes about this process of change, saying, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We are changed into the same image that we spend time gazing on. The challenge is to spend time gazing upon the image of the Son of God found in the Word of God so as to be “changed into that same image from glory to glory.”
I love the results, David writes of in Psalm 40:3, that God brings about. He writes, “And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.” In my case, “He has put a new poem of praise in my mouth.” My prayer is that those who read it shall “worship and shall trust in the LORD.”
Here is what the Lord spoke to my heart about. My prayer is that it will be a special blessing to you, wherever you find yourself, whether needing to embrace a trial or simply continuing life’s journey.
“Embrace the Trial”
“Why me?” The question often asked, when confronted with a trial.
But is this the right one to be asked, facing the upward mile?
“Embrace the trial,” God says to me, “and fight not My design.
My way seems hard, the road unsure, when questioning the line.”
“My fight is not with You, my God, but why my path so hard?
My Lord, is this the best for me, Your frail and weary child?”
“Embrace the trial,” my Lord responds, “Surrender to My way.
Truly it’s for your best, you’ll see, My blessings’ on its way.”
“But Lord, this path is quite unclear and only if I knew,
The length of time to see it through I’d surrender all to You!”
“Embrace the trial, my dear child, I want what’s best for you.
I love you more than you can know, just trust Me, this is true!”
“But why, O Lord, is this so hard for me to yield to You?
If only but a glimpse of view to bear this burden through.”
And then with loving, gentle voice, the pain He cuts right through,
“My Son will come alive in you, when yieldings’ what you do.”
“Look up and see your Savior’s face, and gaze upon My Word.
In time, you’ll be the change I see, committed to your Lord.”
“Look up and see My eyes of grace, I look from up above.
Fear not, My child, the pain you feel is sent because I love.”
“Rejoice! My mercy never fails, enduring to the end.
My grace you’ll find sufficient in humility you bend.”
“The best is not the question ‘Why?’ but better yet, just ‘Who?’
For when you see Me, Who I am, you will surrender too.”
“So, embrace the trial, My dear child, My best is what you’ll see,
Beyond the suffering you feel, My Son they soon shall see.”
In case you were wondering…No, I’m not through having this conversation but I am truly grateful for how we have begun. I know the road ahead will be marked with areas of failure and repentance. I know there will be times where I am tempted to misplace my trust. I know there will be times that I will need to refocus my perspective on my loving Savior’s face and the purpose that He is seeking to accomplish. The bottom line is that I know that I will need to “embrace the trial,” time and time again in order to achieve the goal for which God has purposed. His will is for me to know Him, in order to glorify Him, as I am changed into the image of His Son. By God’s grace and with the prayers of His saints I will “embrace the trial—that I may know Him and glorify Him.”
Can you relate? It is very possible that you have had a similar conversation with the Lord. Or maybe it is time to have this conversation with our good and loving God. I want to encourage you to read over and meditate upon the truths of God’s Word, then take Him at His Word. I want to encourage you to “embrace the trial.”
“Look up and see God’s eyes of grace, He looks from up above. Fear not, God’s child, the pain you feel is sent because He loves.” And then “Rejoice! His mercy never fails, enduring to the end. His grace you’ll find sufficient in humility you bend. So, embrace the trial, God’s dear child, His best is what you’ll see, beyond the suffering you feel, God’s Son they soon shall see.”