I don't know if this happens to any of you, but last night I had all these thoughts running through my head. I thought they were good and knew two things: I needed to write them down so I wouldn't forget them AND I wouldn't fall asleep until I did. Funny how our brain works that way...
Hebrews 12:6 (KJV)-"For whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth..." Now, this scripture stuck with me for a long time when I was younger. And not for the reasons you may be thinking. You see, I had great parents. I did well in school (and didn't struggle for it). My family had what we needed and quite a bit of what we wanted (books...lots and lots of books...). I really didn't seem to struggle in any aspect of my life (except popularity which I didn't really want at the time). I was so blessed, I didn't seem to have any trials. So the question plagued me: Does God love me?
My logic was this: If Heavenly Father loves someone, He gives them trials to make them stronger and to prepare them to enter His presence. My life was pretty awesome. I couldn't think of any "real" trials that I had, not like a lot of people I knew or heard about. So in my mind, God was not chastening me. He must not have loved me. It was tough to understand. Years later, I learned I was wrong. but for several years, I struggled knowing if I was loved of Heavenly Father or not.
Last night, something clicked. Something big. 1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV)-"...for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." All those people with trials had outwardly visible trials. That's what I thought was the true measure of pain and suffering: broken legs, broken hearts, life-threatening disease, bankruptcy, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes we create our own trials (that's what I was doing) and sometimes trials are given to us. But you see, the Lord isn't looking at the severity of the trial as a measure of His love or even as a measure of our faith. Because He doesn't look at those things.
About a year ago, we tried to get my then five year old son to ride his bike without training wheels. Oddly enough, he was riding the NEIGHBOR's bike all over without training wheels. But when we took the ones off his bike, he flat out refused to ride it. Fast forward to this year. We got them Razor scooters and my kids were riding all over. I commented to my son that if he could ride and balance on the scooter, he could do it on the bike. The next day, he had us take the training wheels off (again) and was riding all over within minutes. My point in this is that something that seems obvious and simple to us may not seem simple and obvious to someone else.
Another illustration: My husband is ridiculously strong. I am not. At all. He can lift and move over 200 lbs on his own (as in pick it up and carry it, not drag it around). Me? I feel like I'm going to break in half when I work on 100 lbs.
But that's the way it is with trials. We're each tried according to our capacity to endure, not beyond it. (Unless we're creating our own trials, but that's a whole nother story!) Heavenly Father knows what stresses us out and what will be heavy for us. He knows what would be too easy for us, which would impede our growth. That's why we aren't each asked to endure the same things.
But, and here's the MOST important part, we aren't asked to do it alone. Never alone. Psalms 55:22 (KJV)-"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Jesus Christ is our Savior. What does a Savior do? Saves. And in the case of Christ, He saves us from all things: sin, heartache, disappointment, depression, trials, death. The list goes on. We do not have to suffer alone.
Now, here's an exercise for you. And it may seem silly, but I want you to do it anyway. Find somewhere quiet (or just sit in the noise, because sometimes you don't have a choice). Pray. Tell Heavenly Father all the details about whatever trial is hurting the most. Tell Him HOW it's hurting. And then follow the scriptures advice: cast the burden on the Lord. Turn it over to Him and promise to follow whatever promptings come, no matter how painful or scary. It will be worth it. Trust me. You'll be filled with love. You'll feel clean again. You'll feel strong enough to endure. You won't feel alone.
Just do it.