In reflecting over the multitude of life’s challenges, I realize I have been guilty of compartmentalizing my trials. As I went through each hard place, I remember thinking, “When this is over, my life will return to normal.” And there were brief interludes when there was a little bit of normal in my life only to be interrupted by another difficulty followed by the thought pattern of “When I get through this….”
Very recently the Lord showed me through a message I heard on the radio that my thinking about trials was all wrong. God does not view my life in segments of “good times” and “bad times.” To him, my life is one continuous ribbon of his marvelous plan being unfolded through everything he has allowed for my good and his glory. The hard times? Yes, they are just knots in the ribbon of life, all planned by God, all allowed by him for the purpose of growing me into his likeness. My life has not had many defining moments, but it certainly has had its share of refining moments!
In the now mature years of my life there is the tendency to think maybe I am past all the knots in my ribbon. No so! What is happening now is a continuation of the refining process as I watch from the sidelines while my children endure trials and hard places in their lives – all ordered by God to be sure as knots in the ribbon of their lives. I pray it won’t take them as long as it did me to see that the difficulties are not isolated or compartmentalized. They are part of one continuous ribbon of life planned by a loving Heavenly Father who desires to refine them as well.
“But, God, can’t I help just a little bit to make it easier for them? I’ve been down this road, have the knot in my ribbon as proof. Can’t I tell them what I learned? ” In his gentle way my God responds that the lesson he had for me is not the same as the lesson he has for my child. It is best if I pray and trust and keep my hands off. I find that so much harder than going through the trial myself.
The Lord be praised!