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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

A Different View of my Circumstances

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
for I am Your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isa 41: 10

My sister’s husband is a pilot. Years ago I went flying with him in a small plane. I remember flying over my house thinking how beautiful everything looked. The house sat on a well-manicured yard, the trees looked perfectly shaped, and small bursts of color came from the flowerbeds. It was a beautiful sight from on high. However, the reality was that the yard needed mowing, the trees had a few dead limbs on them and the flowerbeds were full of weeds. What appeared perfect from a distance was far from perfect up close.

You and I encounter many circumstances in life. Up close and personal we view many of those circumstances as imperfect, difficult and sometimes downright ugly. Have you ever been surprised by difficulties? Recently I’ve faced numerous difficulties in caring for my mother. I remember telling my husband, “I’ll be glad when things get back to normal.” He then began to remind me of difficulty after difficulty I had faced prior to the present difficulty that was looming. In other words, he was reminding me that facing difficulties with my mother’s care was normal.

God’s Word tells us that facing difficulties in this life is normal. Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you (I Peter 4:12). As believers, we face the same difficulties others face, but also trials due to our faith. 

It’s easy to focus only on the trial and become discouraged, fearful, depressed, or even bitter. However, God wants to give us a different view—a view of Himself and His purpose. God hasn’t left us alone amongst the weeds and dead limbs. He is right here with us as we walk through the difficulty. (Isaiah 43:2-3) God is strengthening us, helping us, and upholding us. (Isaiah 41:10) God purposes to use the trial to strengthen His character in us and deepen our faith. (James 1:2-4)

Lord, instead of focusing on the trial, help me focus upon You. Use the trial to accomplish Your good in my life. Amen.

Jan Burkhart

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