Going Through A Trial? Here’s Some Encouragement!

I’ve been up since 2:30 am with symptoms of paresthesia. Paresthesia, by definition, is an abnormal sensation, typically tingling or prickling (“pins and needles”) caused chiefly by pressure on or damage to peripheral nerves.

This has been going on for about a month and yes, I am seeing a doctor for it. As I was laying in bed and couldn’t go back to sleep I thought, since I can’t sleep, maybe I can write a post on what to do when we go through trials and maybe it will help others who are also going through something right now.

So here’s some encouragement for you!

When you’re going through a trial here are some things I recommend.

1.) Remember that God loves you and that He didn’t give you the trial to teach you a lesson

I know there are many different schools of thought on this issue and I’m not here to argue with anyone, but if you’re reading my blog, you’re never going to hear me say that God gives us trials or even permits them in our lives. My belief is that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.  See what Jesus Himself said here in John 10:10 .

What we believe about God and His nature is really important. If you would like to hear a really good message on this subject click here to listen to a teaching by Pastor Jeff Perry: Does God Cause Or Permit Bad Things In Our Lives.

2.) Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus

This past month Jesus has reminded me over and over again to keep my eyes fixed on Him.

Matthew 14:24-33 says,

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, It’s a ghost!

27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. Don’t be afraid, He said. Take courage. I am here!

28 Then Peter called to Him, Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.

29 Yes, come, Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. Save me, Lord! he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. You have so little faith, Jesus said. Why did you doubt me?

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped Him. You really are the Son of God! they exclaimed. (NLT) 

This Biblical story is so amazing as it so clearly proves the difference Peter experienced when He was keeping his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus as opposed to when he started focusing on the wind and the waves in life – the storm going on around him.

I’m so glad this is in the Bible for us to look back at over and over again to remind us what to do when we’re in a storm…like for me, right now. The paresthesia symptoms have lessened a little over the past couple of weeks, but not at any kind of lightening speed as I would like. But a few weeks ago the tingling was so bad that it was literally going all over my body. Crazy.

I called and texted a few people for prayer and I knew I had a decision to make right then and there. Was I going to focus on the storm of my circumstance or was I going to trust Jesus by keeping my eyes fixed on Him and His finished work on the cross? I knew from experience that one would result in me having to fight fear and the other would result in me being able to stay in peace right in the middle of the storm – symptoms and all.

It’s not about trying to work up more faith. It’s simply about us choosing to trust in Jesus and trust that He will see us through. I’ve said this before in a previous post, but I love what Pastor Jeff Perry, said one time about faith in one of his messages. He said, “Faith is just reliance on how good God is.” This helped me so much because it simplified it and made it more practical for me.

Hebrews 12:1-3 says,  

12 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NASB) 

I LOVE what the Amplified translation says here in the first part of verse 2:

[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity] Hebrews 12:2a (AMP)

3.) Refuse to be moved by what you feel, see or hear. Instead, be moved by the promises in God’s Word.

I certainly had to put this into action the day I had that severe paresthesia all over my body and I still do right this very minute as symptoms are happening while I type. I’ve had to ask myself a number of times: Are these symptoms going to dictate to me my outcome or is God’s Word going to dictate my outcome. It’s almost like I’ve had to get obstinate against what I’m feeling and purposely hold my head up high and fight the good fight of faith by continuing to rest in the finished work of the cross. To me that’s what ‘not being moved by what I feel’ means.

Then, when I heard several doctors say to me in the beginning of this, If you keep having the tingling you need to get back in here. That’s not something you want to mess with,” I had to choose to not be moved by what I was hearing. This doesn’t mean I have ignored what the doctors have said. In fact, I am going in and getting treatments. But to me, ‘not being moved by what I hear’ simply means I don’t let the doctor’s report unnerve me and send me into a panic. How can I do this? By keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus and the truth that He already paid the price for my healing on the cross.

I really can’t be looking around in anxiety thinking, Oh my gosh, what am I gonna do, what am I gonna do. I have to do something to make these symptoms stop. No. What I have to do is keep believing that God’s got this no matter what I feel, see or hear…because He actually does!

So many times people (and I’ve done this many times before) launch forward in their own efforts in a situation like this and instead of trusting God and being perceptive to the leading of the Spirit, they are led by their own mind, will and emotions. But self-led effort is never going to produce the same result that resting in Jesus and Spirit-led effort will produce.

4.) Recall past victories

When we are in pain or discomfort it’s easier to say we should be in faith than to actually do it. I have been in the hospital on numerous occasions with high fevers and infections and was in such a delirious state that I didn’t even feel I had strength to pray for myself. All I could get out of my mouth through my delirium was, Dear God, please help me, but guess what…that was enough! In fact, this is now my favorite prayer to pray. I pray this every day, all throughout the day when I need God’s help…which is very often!

This past month I have felt somewhat discouraged at times. I believe this is partially because of the pain I’ve been fighting. I’m sure you would agree that pain has a wearing affect on us. One of the things I have done to combat this discouragement is to purposely recall past victories over unpleasant circumstances that God has delivered me from in the past. For instance, from 2009-2011 I went through what I refer to as a 2 year health nightmare, but guess what? – God brought me through it. Here’s that story if you would like to read about it or listen to it via audio post: My Two Year Health Nightmare

Just like David looked back and recounted the victories God had given him with the lion and the bear to prepare him to conquer the giant, we also need to purposely recount all the things God has helped us through in the past to help us have the strength to fight against discouragement during a trial.

I seriously DO NOT want to forget all the awesome things that God does in my life, the lives of my family members and my friends’ lives. He is soooooooo good. I want to write down every detail of His goodness in our lives! Although, realistically, I know I won’t succeed at doing this (because there’s no way that I could keep up with God’s goodness), I want to at least record as much as possible!

5.) Remember Romans 8:28

Don’t forget what Romans 8:28 says:

And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. (Romans 8:28 – AMP)

I believe this Biblical truth with all my heart. This is why I am able to say to myself, when going through a trial, God is gonna work this whole thing together for the good… for sure.  This blog post is one example. No, I don’t believe God gave me paresthesia. What I do believe is, the devil hates me and wants to stop me from helping others. But look at how God is helping me have the stamina to write this post and causing all things to work together for good!  In fact, I just noticed that the symptoms I had when I started typing are gone! Thank You Jesus!

So I really encourage you to hold onto Romans 8:28 as a promise.

6.) Receive Communion to honor Jesus for His sacrifice for you

Well this may be the last piece of encouragement I’m giving, but it certainly is not the least. I really enjoy receiving communion on a regular basis as a way to honor Jesus for the sacrifice He made for me through His finished work on the cross. It’s a great way for us to receive afresh everything Jesus provided for us through His death and resurrection.

In fact, I tell Jesus every time I receive communion that I am going to receive every single solitary thing that He died to provide for me, leaving no stone unturned… and guess what, sometimes I say this while experiencing negative symptoms at the same time.

Again, we CANNOT be moved by what we see, feel or hear. We have to decide that, by God’s grace, we are going to hold our heads up high, even when the devil is trying to beat us down, and only be moved by the truth of God’s Word.

I have posted about the privilege of honoring Jesus through receiving communion before and have had quite a few comments from people saying, Oh wow, I didn’t know I could do this on a regular basis.

If you would like to read a wonderful mini-book on the power of communion, I recommend Pastor Joseph Prince’s book titled Health And Wholeness Through The Holy Communion. This is such a good book that I’ve given away numerous times when visiting and praying for people in the hospital and I believe it dispels some common misconceptions about communion that will help you!

If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!

Sandra McCollom