“Train for the trial you aren’t yet in.” Levi Lusko
I have been walking with Jesus for twelve years now, and in that time, as I look back, I can see so many variations of highs and lows.
I remember having my heart really broken, struggling with my flesh, being let down by people, dealing with doubt, dealing with betrayal, and so many other hard things. I also see so many places of joy. Getting married, making life-long friends, being part of a church that loved me, serving in the kingdom, growing in giftings, becoming a momma, and having deeper foundations built in me.
All along the way, I can see where God has been training me for the trial I wasn’t in – in the hard stuff and the good stuff.
God didn’t say we might have trials, but He said we would and He wouldn’t leave us alone in them.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
The last two years the biggest trial in my life has been this – LONELINESS. Have you ever been really lonely? I don’t mean it in the sense that I felt abandoned by God or that I didn’t know He was in it with me. I mean it in the sense that I have felt lonely in my need for friendship, community, and people.
As believers, we weren’t called to do life on our own. We were called into community. I haven’t had that in a very long time, and to be honest, that has been crushing.
The one part of it that has been encouraging is seeing how all the training over the last twelve years led me not to pulling away from or blaming God, but instead drove me deeper into His love.
I sought His word more to know why I believe what I believe – was it what I wanted to think or was it what He said? I sought His presence more. I prayed and sat and read my Bible and books by pastors and authors I love more. I owned more of my pursuit of His truth in this season as my responsibility. I sat and worshipped Him more. My heart sang songs, sitting in a space, all alone – with just my voice praising Him. Just Him and me in a space and in some of those really broken, tear-soaked days, I felt most near to Him. Though the feeling of loneliness for friendship and people has been real, I have never been without His comfort and love.
See, I wouldn’t have walked in it this way without the twelve years of training before. Looking back, I see what God was putting in me so I could batten down the hatches and survive the storm that was tearing and ripping at my heart like a storm tears the sails on a ship. I will not make light of this pain. My heart as truly felt raw and exposed to the elements in this season. It has been battered and broken longing for a place to belong.
God has never stopped working on my heart or in the hearts of others. I have never stopped praying to find a church home or friendship. In the last few months, I’ve specifically been praying more and more about just having friends.
Well, in a way that doesn’t make much sense, God has put Rob and me on the hearts of another couple, and they invited us into their home Friday. I had one of the longest conversation with other people, besides Rob, in Kansas City in the last two years on Friday night. I missed that, and more importantly, I missed the depth in conversation that we shared.
Not only did they invite us into their home, but they invited us into ministry and community with them. My God answers prayers! There was something specific they felt led to ask us to partner with them on, and they extended that opportunity to us.
I can’t begin to say how the flow of the conversation spoke to prayers being answered on both sides, and the level of appreciation that was in the room between us because we could all see what God was beginning to do.
He put us on their hearts and they made the time to respond and do life with with us over pizza and cupcakes. He urged their hearts and they listened. We had only met this couple briefly, but they felt this strong call and sense of certainty that God was calling them to get to know us. Their obedience led to our blessing.
Without all the training beforehand, I probably would have thrown my hands up, drank in bitterness, and wanted to just go back home. That’s not what God has put in me though. That’s not who He has been making me to be. For that I am thankful because He graced me with the ability to wait and see Him on the other side of this trial. He helped me to know that through it, I was never alone, and what was waiting for me on the other side was something new that He was calling out in me to be used for my good and His glory.
I wouldn’t have seen the beauty in it if I hadn’t known what I knew before the first day of the storm. Your life may not look like this today, but there are various kinds of trial that we will all surely know. My encouragement for you today is to train and train and train so when it hits, you are not shattered. When it hits, your foundations won’t be undone. When it hits, you will see something on the horizon that lets you know you aren’t walking alone. When it hits, you’ll remember hope in your Savior.