How are you today? How is life treating you? Good? Bad? Somewhere in-between? It’s fair to say that we will all be at different places in our lives because of our unique circumstances. Some of us will be riding a high, all is good and right. Others will be in the valley and dealing with trials. We all go through valleys in life. We cannot escape them, for we cannot have mountains without having valleys. Everything has a counterpart. Learning to cope with these valleys can be a challenge though. Seeing a way through and the ability to find hope in the trials of life is sometimes too much to ask. But there is always a way and there is always hope.
Let me show you how.
Joy in trials?
Ever heard this before? It’s a well-known verse from the Bible about going through testing times in life. James suggests that through these trials in life we should be joyful for their presence. This might seem a bit masochistic. Why would we enjoy suffering and trials? But he encourages us to understand that they are times to be appreciated since we can grow and learn through them.
Another way of putting it is this:
No one likes trials. Not really. But we can shift our perspective by realising that it is through our trials that we grow, become more mature, learn about ourselves and others, and ultimately discover that we become better versions of ourselves.
Hope through adversity means that we realise there is a higher purpose to our trials if we endeavour to look up from our trudging feet. We cannot see the mountain top if we focus on our feet. We must keep our eyes up to find a way through the valley and reach the heights.
Do not be discouraged
You are not alone. So often when we are experiencing suffering we can feel isolated. The very idea that we can find hope in the trials of life is distant and unattainable to us. Discouragement happens when we forget to look up from our trudging feet. All our pity and heartache is focused inwards and we don’t realise that if we look up we will find people beside us ready to help. People who have been through something similar, people with caring words and loving actions ready to ease our burden. People who will remind us that we do not go through life’s trials alone.
Depression and discouragement are common occurrences during times of trial, especially when we don’t understand why we are going through them. The ‘why me?’, or ‘but I’m a good person’ attitude creates a victim mentality that assumes you are somehow exempt from suffering. But no one is. No matter how good you are, you will always experience difficulties at some point. So do not be discouraged. You are not alone in your trial. Look for ways to connect with people and keep your eyes firmly focused upwards.
Seek and you will find
Further to what I said before, we must be proactive through our trials. To find hope in the trials of life, we must seek a way forward. This means that we must reflect on our situation and seek guidance from trusted sources. If you are in financial difficulty you may seek guidance from a financial advisor. If you are in physical distress, you may seek help from a doctor or other medical professional. Relationship trials may be remedied through counselling and better communication. Spiritual trials, or any trial really, can be eased through seeking a spiritual connection with God.
The point is, there is always a way through. Just as there is a cause for every problem, there is a solution to most too. We must seek a way forward without compromising on what is right. Furthermore, we must recognise those times when we bring the calamity upon ourselves and seek to prevent such a reoccurrence again. We will always find hope in the trials of life because we can always look for the best in ourselves and others to find a way through.
The oft-quoted phrase above is an ancient one that gets hauled out during times of trial. You’ve possibly even used it yourself. But do we really believe it? Well, we should because it’s true. It may be that our trials do not pass as quickly, or in the manner we would have liked, but they do pass. We must have patience, faith and trust that we will emerge on the mountain top ready to enjoy the view. This simple sentence tells us that we will find hope in the trials of life because there is always an end to them. We will be a different person, absolutely. Hopefully, one who is more resilient, more compassionate, dedicated, understanding, focused and eager.
Don’t get me wrong. We will have down days throughout our trials. Sometimes we will feel the weight of our circumstances heavily upon us and we’ll cry out in our desperation. This is part of the journey. Expressing how we really feel is so important and must not be avoided. But we must seek to overcome our lows in order to find our highs. Be patient with and kind to yourself as you express your hurt and frustration. Then find your way.
Trials are sent to test us. It’s up to us whether we pass the test, or let it beat us. Find your inner strength and be the growth you want to see in yourself. Embrace the struggles you face with courage and fortitude and you will find hope in the trials of life.