by Angie Thomas

This week has been “one-of-those-weeks”. Nothing overly terrible, just tough for a variety of reasons. Hormones, disobedient children, a dear friend moving out-of-state, tax preparation (need I say more). As a stay-at-home mom there are just days when the walls seem to be closing in, when quiet, adult conversation without interruption seems to have vanished in the wind and mediating fights over plastic Easter eggs somehow has become my full-time job.

These are the days when life seems to be lived “in the trenches”. One little struggle leads to another and somehow I find myself wondering where our loving, compassionate God has gone? I know He is there, but often for brief moments in the midst of a 4 year old temper tantrum or a “to-do” list that seems to get longer instead of shorter, His felt presence seems to have evaporated. Is He really there with me, my true companion in the trenches of life?

Then my friend throws a curveball into my entire theology concerning my trenches. What if He is actually the trench digger? Not just with me in my trials, but actually orchestrating them? Hmm. Disturbing on many levels. But what if what my friend says is true, “He does this so we can see Him rescue us”? 2 Timothy 3:10-12 speaks to this “You, however, know all about my… purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings….the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…”

Now let me clarify that my struggles are nothing like the persecution that Paul and so many other brave Christians have faced or are facing in other parts of the world. But the idea that God not only allows but at times orchestrates our trials is a difficult pill to swallow. But oh, the power and the glory, the confidence in our Lord that develops when we seem Him rescue us from the grips of fear and hopelessness and when we taste the sweetness of His presence and His love when He holds us, as the storms swirl around us.

Trenches are not only necessary in the deepening of our faith, but can even be celebrated as we consider what Paul says in Romans 5:3-4 , “…but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Perseverance, character and hope, sign me up…oh and keep me in the trenches.

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