Five Minute Friday scribblings, Trials

Overcome: When Trials Come

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—OVERCOME. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. We write for five minutes on a given word. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out the Five Minute Friday website. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

OVERCOME

God never promised this life would be easy. We all face trials. They can refine us, renew us. They often show us how much we need Jesus.

I have this nasty habit of trying to get through trials in my own strength. I plow through the days, trying to break down the barriers, and get back to my version of normal.

The thing is, God doesn’t allow trials into our lives so that we can navigate them in our own strength. Sure, there are times when we can handle them. And be done with them.

But, how many times have we faced that trial that’s as high as a mountain and as intimidating as a grizzly bear breathing down our backs?

God wants us to walk through those seasons of life with Him. Not in front of or behind Him. He wants us to let Him help us.

When those hard times show up in our lives—and we all face them—He wants us to overcome. The only way we can, though, is by acknowledging how desperately we need God’s help. Our God is greater than anything we’ll face in our lives.

But, if we face those hard times alone, in our own “strength?” We’ll be mown over, sooner or later.

God sometimes waits for us to invite Him into the hard. Sometimes, He withholds the overcoming until we’ve endured the fire that removes dross so we reflect Him more clearly. 

And this almost always comes through having the humility to ask God to walk alongside us. To ask Him to be our barrier-breaker. To be the One who gives us strength. 

Sometimes, God’s just waiting for us to acknowledge we can’t do “it,” whatever “it” is on our own. Whether it’s pursuing a calling, working toward a dream . . .

Whether it’s facing a scary diagnosis, a job loss, the death of a loved one . . .

He wants to see us victorious, and He wants us to trust Him to walk with us on the journey.

Whatever we are facing, we will overcome with God’s help.

I love Joshua 1:9—

He commands us to be strong and courageous. He tells us not to be afraid or discouraged, but there’s only one reason we can own and live out this command . . . and it’s because He is with us wherever we go.

What about you? When have you sensed God’s presence with you in a trial? When have you seen Him overcome a situation in your life?

Click to Tweet: Knowing how to walk through trials makes all the difference

I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday—Overcome

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22 thoughts on “Overcome: When Trials Come”

    1. Christy, I’m so glad we’re neighbors! God has had to bring me back time and again to letting Him handle things. Or to me being willing to admit my need for Him to do life with me. I wish I could say I had this aspect of my walk all together . . . but I wouldn’t want to be called a liar. 😉 This may sound bad, but I’m kind of glad I’m not the only one who struggles with this. 😉

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  1. Great essay, Jeanne, and I love the pictures, especially the sun shining through the leaves.

    There’s an interesting dichotomy in my life, affecting the presence of the Amighty. There are those who urge me to be ‘honest’ and express discouragement and resentment, even anger…and when I do, God seems to recede. These folks mean well – some are medical professionals – but the judge through their paradigm of normal.

    And what is theirs is not mine. I consider the trials of illness to be something that’s just too bad, something that God neither ordained nor allowed (save His allowing free will, and thus sin and its doppelgangers). And I don’t feel that health is somehow a right, much less the birthright of a Christian. I’ve seen a bit too much in too many really nasty places to fall for that.

    Far more real (and immanent) than a chess-piece-moving God, allowing disaster here and bestowing blessing there, is the God of the Via Dolorosa. He’s seen and experienced both the depths of pain and the rising of life from the tomb, and He’s willing to help. We need only ask.

    There are some things in this life we won’t overcome; there are things that can and will kill us, but whether there is an audience to our death or not, whether their is perceived purpose or not, we are still afforded the chance to die in faith, in hope, and in the charitable love that is the only legacy we can truly leave.

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    1. Andrew, as usual, your perspective hones in the general tone of my words in the most beautiful of ways. First off, I loved what you said here:
      “Far more real (and immanent) than a chess-piece-moving God, allowing disaster here and bestowing blessing there, is the God of the Via Dolorosa. He’s seen and experienced both the depths of pain and the rising of life from the tomb, and He’s willing to help. We need only ask.” YES.

      And, unfortunately, five minutes doesn’t really allow the depth that this post could explore. You are right, of course. There are some things we will not overcome in this life. And yes, the legacy we leave will speak long after we find our way into eternity.

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  2. Thank you Jeanne! My favorite line “Sometimes He withholds the overcoming until we have endured the fire that removes dross so we can reflect Him more clearly.” Yes, this life is hard at times, but I am thankful for the trust in Him to be with me. Blessings upon your Friday, Julie

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    1. Julie, I’m with you. I’m so thankful we are daughters of a God who loves us, and in whom we can place all our trust. When I really stop to think about it, I am in awe that 1) He sees the end result of who He created us to be, and 2) He loves us enough to continue in patience with us, even when we mess up big living out our days. I hope your Friday is/has been a good one too!

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  3. Yes! I love the image of God walking beside. I think about the times we go hiking and the girls are SO slow…. It’s easy to want to walk ahead, to lead them along. But really, the discoveries happen when I slow my pace and walk alongside.

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    1. Annie, I remember those days of slow. Now, especially my oldest, likes to walk at least ten feet in front of me. I’m glad you are intentional about being with your daughters in their slow/discovering modes. You will be the one most blessed by the fruit this yields. 🙂

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  4. A problematic catch 22 here for some Jeanne — how do we seek comfort from the same God we also blame for allowing our trials? It’s not easy at first but we have to immerse ourselves in the Word and prayer, and through that we discover that God does provide comfort and strength. People often quote Philippians 4:13 but I think we have to include verse 12 in order to grasp the full meaning of it:

    “12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do ALL THIS through him who gives me strength.”

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    1. Gene, you bring up such a good point. It’s hard, in five minutes of writing, to be able to cover all the different facets of this particular post. I always appreciate the perspective you bring, because you have faced some things in life I have not. Your depth of understanding add to my own, and to our conversation.

      I love that you bring in Phil 4:12 to increase the understanding of verse 13. Until we can see the broader picture, what we know and believe is hindered.

      And that is also the understanding we need to take into those hard places in our lives, isn’t it? I know you share from personal experience, and for that I am truly grateful. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Gene!

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  5. Joshua 1:9 is such a great verse. And your post reminds me of the Footprints poem. God never leaves us or forsakes us. I’m in the 61 spot this week.

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  6. It amazes me that the Lord truly does want to walk through the hard times with me. He really does love me like that. A truth that penetrates deeply the longer I follow Him, one that I may never fully understand, but am thankful for.

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    1. I know, Marie. Though I sometimes live like an orphan, our Abba is always, always with us. I’m thankful He loves us enough to engage with us always. I’m humbled that He loves us so perfectly, passionately, and completely!

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