“It is in the quiet crucible of your personal private sufferings that your noblest dreams are born and God’s greatest gifts are given in compensation for what you’ve been through.”~Wintley Phipps
When I heard this quote today, I was blown away by the message it embodied. Deep within the quiet place of our soul—where our deepest hurts lie—God meets us. And sometimes, we experience His greatest gifts while dwelling with Him there.
We often have no control over the things that try to destroy us or our way of life. Living in a fallen world, Christian and non-Christian alike bear atrocities, hardships, and unfair life situations. Navigating through these situations, we have a choice. We can suffer and feel every nuance of the injustice, or we can meet God in our pain and allow Him to work it for our good or the good of someone else. In other words, focus on the eternal, not the temporal.
Touching others through my writing has been a dream of mine forever. I never could’ve imagined my greatest dream would be juxtaposed with my greatest loss.
My sister’s suicide seven years ago tops the list of most difficult situations I’ve endured. Not just because she died, but how she died. I’d lost several other family members in rapid succession, before and after her death, a total of eight close relatives within a three-year period of time. But Michelle’s death hit the hardest.
While you have no control over cancer, advancing age, or accidents—suicide seems different. Survivors shoulder the misconception that they could’ve done something to prevent it—yet somehow they missed that “something.” With God’s help, guilt can be minimized, but in our human nature, it still seeps into our consciousness, if we allow it.
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your 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.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
God took my hurt and shaped it into an avenue to help others. Every time I write an article or devotion to share Michelle’s story, I get emails from people in similar situations—those who’ve attempted suicide themselves or those who’ve lost someone to suicide. Listening to their painful stories is surprisingly cathartic, perhaps because, in reaching out to them, it gives purpose to my loss.
The gift God gave me in writing has been manifested as a balm on others’ pain. It gives me immense comfort to know Michelle’s story has comforted others in their loss. My faith has been strengthened through this and other trials I’ve faced. My sensitivity, across the board, for those suffering has increased. I sense God’s presence more strongly each day and hope my writing reflects His glory.
God will not always wipe away our earthly trials, but He will meet you in that place of quiet desperation and strengthen you. The Apostle Peter speaks of God’s power shielding us through our faith.
Peter also implores us in the above verse to keep our focus on the heavenly—not on the things of this life that can perish, spoil, or fade. By doing so, it reshapes our perspective on our trials, strengthens our faith, and allows God to work through us to help others in their faith walk.
So, in the quiet crucible of your suffering today, will you allow God to dwell with you to work the situation for your good? To grow you to be more like Christ? Maybe even fulfill a noble dream?
Wednesday, I’ll return with another post about sharing one another’s burdens. As Christians, this is what we’re called to do. I hope in starting this interactive weekly feature, this blog will expand its ministry to do just that.
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