Trials Aren’t the Enemy

If tires could screech to a stop on winter, gravel road, we would have left black streaks on the snow and ice that day…so quick and hard was the pressure applied to the brake pedal.

As it was, our stop seemed anything but swift as my frantic gaze took in the scene that was taking place in the horse pasture.

A group of mares were laying and standing around a bale, enjoying the warmth from the early morning sun.

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Group of mares

All but one, that is.

It appeared that one mare had met her end during the night, for all we could see was a leg sticking straight up into the air and pointing to the sky…

It wasn’t moving.

My husband jumped out of the truck and quickly lumbered his way through the deep snow, yelling and trying to get the horses’ attention.

Inside the pickup, anxious thoughts went through my mind.

“Lord, please don’t let it be one of my mares,” I pleaded.

Quick on the heels of that thought came a question, “And whose horse do you want it to be?  Your daughter’s horse?”

Conscience pricked, I responded, “No.”

“How about your niece’s horse?”

“No!”

The truth is that I would not want any of them to lose a horse…and, yet, my hastily offered prayer request would infer otherwise…

For if it wasn’t my horse, it would have to be someone else’s horse.

For by all appearances…

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Dun mare

Someone had lost a horse.

As my husband continued to make his way to the horses, I reflected on my attitude.  While I wouldn’t want to lose any of my horses…to want them to be safe at the expense of a loss of a horse to someone else was…well…

Selfish.

I continued to watch out the window, thanking God for pointing this out to me, and asking for His forgiveness for my selfishness.

The next second my daughter, yelled, “The leg twitched!”

I watched out the window as he charged at the horse, waving his arms and yelling…

That poor horse leapt up to her feet and ran off with the other mares as they fled from this squawking biped flapping his arms at them:D

And you know what?

All of them…every single one…was ok!

As I watched the clouds of snow erupt from their hooves as they ran into the trees, I saw that the mare whose legs hand been pointing the wrong direction was, in fact, my horse.

Georgie.

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Georgie and her foal

A little, dun mare with a great love for cookies:D

Nowadays, when I go out to pet Georgie, I often reflect on the day, and am reminded of a truth that I have learned.

Trials are not the enemy.

In fact, they are the opposite.

They are a kindness granted to me on behalf of Christ for a purpose.  He uses suffering in my life to remove the dross…the “less than desirable” or just plain stinky attitudes, actions, and thought processes that permeate my thinking…the sin and things that entangle my feet and keep me from keeping my eyes focused on Jesus and running with endurance the race that has been marked out for me.  Through trials, He refines my faith and proves my character so that the life that I live by faith will result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Trials…regardless of their flavor or their length of time…stretch me and help me to grow up…to mature…to learn to endure and firmly fix my hope…my trust…my faith…my love on Jesus, the author and finish of my faith.  Circumstances that challenge my faith refine my faith so that I learn not to rely on myself and on the things of this world.  Instead, I learn to firmly place my faith in God alone, so that I can walk by faith and not by sight.  By faith, I learn that God is the rock upon which I stand.  When the storms of life rage against me, I don’t have no reason to fear.  Armed with His strength, His peace, His joy, His love and the promises given in His Word, He enables me to stand firm.

Only our Faithful, Loving Father can take those struggles which have the potential to crush, cause despair and destroy us and work them together for our good…using them to refine us so that when we come through them, we come forth as gold.

He’s an amazing Father, isn’t He?!!

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Georgie letting me know what she thinks of my homemade horse cookies:D

Trials aren’t the enemy.

They are a kindness granted to us by our Father, which He sovereignly uses for our good.

Here are some verse that encourage me when I am going through difficult struggles…

Count it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2 – 4

Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1. Peter 1: 6, 7

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ no only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him.  Philippians 1:29

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces

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Trials remind me of how the raging waters of a river carve out a piece of beauty along the banks of a river…a unique kind of beauty that would not exist without the great pressure that cuts and sweeps away all the debris, until all that is left is the rock…strong, firm and stable.

perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3 – 5

We were under great pressure far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.  But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  2. Corinthians 1:8, 9.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  Isaiah 43:2