I struggled with trusting in God when people would tell me “things will get better.” My inner response was always “When?! This is intolerable! How long must I endure this and what if it doesn’t get better?!” I did not want to put any merit to this statement because my hurt was so overwhelming that I wanted control over something, which manifested in anger towards God. I ruminated how, over twenty years ago, I was assured that my chronic pain would subside one day, but it still hasn’t. So, since I had the experience of never reaching the other side of that particular trial, I decided that God wasn’t going to allow me to see the other side of my postpartum depression. Focusing on the negative and disregarding all the other times I was brought out of hard seasons made me despair. And this led me down a self-destructive path because I was impatient for things to be better.
The pattern of my past three “Responding to Clichés” posts have been to talk about how the inspirational quote is false or incomplete, then to evaluate what the Bible says, and then to share a possible response to the person who shared it. For this post, instead of correcting the cliché, I’d like to confess that it was really my heart that needed to be corrected.
I chose to forget the hope of Psalm 30:5b which says: “weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes with the morning.” There is a lot of truth to the cliché we are looking at in this post and it can be very encouraging as long as two biblical truths are held together with one overarching truth: 1) Trials in earthly life may have an end and 2) Trials in earthly life may end only when the believer enters heaven. But in both instances, God is good. I can be thankful and rejoice when the Lord brings me out of valleys. And if I’m called to suffer a certain hardship for my entire life, I can’t let myself be discouraged. I actually should be thankful and rejoice for the suffering because James 1:2-4 tells us that trials are meant to make us more like Christ.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
As I look back at past times of testing and refining, I see how the Lord brought me into closer relationship with Him and helped me to mature in my faith. I had forgotten those times during the PPD season or maybe I chose to forget the verse from James so that I could remain bitter and justify my blaming the Lord for my lot. Once I realized my foolishness and repented of my anger, I began to view my depression as an opportunity to lean into God’s sovereignty over my life and trust in the ways He was bringing about growth.
And the cliché that “things will get better” is true for all of those who are believers in Jesus. 1 Peter 5:10 explains that even if hardship should last an earthly lifetime, it will be considered only a little while in comparison to eternal glory that awaits us in heaven. In the meantime, Christ HIMSELF will strengthen his chosen and provide grace to endure until the end.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
God, give us the grace and strength to endure whatever trials you sovereignly ordain for us to walk through. Help us to remember that the testing of our faith is rooting out all worldliness in us and making us more like our Savior.
And here are some more resources that I found helpful in understanding God’s sovereignty in the midst of a difficult season.
- Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
- How Long, O Lord? by D.A. Carson
- When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper
- 30/30 Hindsight: 30 Reflections on a 30-year Headache by Timothy M. Shorey