Times of Testing
Words from Jesus
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“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you… In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”—1 Peter 1:3–71
I understand the deep pain and disappointment you feel. I was tested in all points like you. I understand the depths of despair when you are faced with the limitations of the earth life and can only see the moment in time you are in. I understand how difficult it is to see past the present to hold on to hope for the future. But I promise to help you through such times of testing. Just call My name and I will be there, right beside you, helping you and holding you up. Lean on Me and My strength, and I will see you through. Things will get better.
Keep your eyes on Me! I am with you, taking care of you in the best possible way. When you are suffering, My care may seem imperfect and inadequate. Continue to trust Me, knowing that I do all things well.
Thank Me for this time of neediness, when you must depend on Me more than usual. Do not waste this opportunity by wishing it away. Trust that I know what I’m doing—that I can bring good out of everything you encounter, everything you endure. Don’t let your past or present suffering contaminate your view of the future. I am the Lord of your future, and I have good things in store for you. I alone know the things I am planning for you to give you a future and a hope.2
I will reward you for holding on and not giving up in spite of the difficulties you face and the struggle to live your faith. My rewards for your efforts will be worth every fight, every battle, and the taste of victory will be all the sweeter to you, if you just hold on. In looking back you’ll be so thankful that you held on and refused to give up.
Every time you face tough times, instead of thinking, “Oh, how horrible!” you can remind yourself, “I’m a child of God! Every time I declare my faith, every time I witness, every time I act in the name of Jesus, I’m helping to build His kingdom!”
You can look forward to heaven, where all will be at peace and life will be happy, but I have also promised you peace here and now. I want to give you victory and freedom even in the midst of adversity and times of trouble. I have promised you peace that passes all understanding, so you can trust that this peace can be truly yours.
Take a moment to picture the Grand Canyon. Its many levels, from stark cliffs to lush inner sanctums, tell a story. The waters that created this seeming wound in the landscape also bring forth its most beautiful and abundant life deep within.
The same majesty and beauty is formed in your soul as the sometimes raging currents of trials and tests, failures, tears, and suffering create what at first glance may seem to be deep scars on your heart or life. I allow those waters of troubles to flow through your life to create a refuge where My most precious and treasured gifts can grow like rare flowers.
As you look beyond the surface into the depths of a heart reshaped by troubles that were carried to Me, you’ll find that hidden within those canyons are the most beautiful blossoms. Soul blossoms are brilliant and breathtaking in color and fragrance. They are a source of inspiration and comfort to the heart that bears them, and to the spirits of others who venture there in search of comfort, solace, and the waters of My love to slake their thirst. Everything there carries a distinctiveness that says: I am with you and I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Have you ever been tempted to wonder why, if I’m always right there with you, comforting you, that you still feel the sadness and the pain? Think about a mother with her young child who has fallen down and gotten hurt. Think about how the mother holds, comforts, and nurtures her little one. Initially, it doesn’t seem to help. The child is still hurting and crying, but in a few moments the pain is forgotten, as the child is comforted through the mother’s love and tenderness. Likewise, when you are hurting, I hold you through the pain, and it won’t be long before My love will have soothed it all away, and you will be happy and able to smile again.
There is gold to be found, even in these dark caves which threaten to snuff out your light. That’s My promise to you, My love, when you find yourself in one of these dark caves of life. I go before you and I never allow you to pass through a cave that will not ultimately result in a return to you that will never perish—the treasures and gold of the Spirit. So when you feel like you’re in a deep, dark cave, seek after that gold, never doubting that it is there somewhere, just waiting for you to discover it.
I will never give up on you! You may feel like utter scum and that there’s no way I can make something beautiful of your life with all your faults and failings—but I can! I don’t care how dirty you get or how far down you go, I will always lift you out of any pit, clean you up, and give you another chance. Believe in My love and accept that I believe in you and want to use you.
Make a conscious effort to keep your eyes off your mistakes. Don’t think about them. Consider them casualties of war, casualties of the battles you’re fighting. Keep your mind on how I am working these things together for your good and weaving them into My plan for you. Keep your mind on what you’re learning. Picture yourself free from the chains of condemnation and regret. Dwell on the positive, not the negative.
This is a lesson that is often very difficult to learn. It’s so easy to fall into condemnation, because often you set too high a standard for yourself. Always remember that I accept you, just as you are, with your weaknesses and faults, as you raise your hands in praise, look to Me, and determine to receive the victory. Accept that you have weaknesses and that you will make mistakes, and then do your best to obey Me and fulfill My commandments by loving Me and loving others. As you do, I will work through you and create within you something beautiful, and you will fulfill the destiny that I have set before you.
When was the last time you tried threading a needle? You probably licked the end of the thread and held the needle up close, squinting, straining your eyes as you carefully and repeatedly tried to maneuver the thread through the eye of the needle. Sometimes it threads easier than at other times, but almost always there are those moments of difficulty and frustration until you finally manage to get it through. Why would you bother threading that needle in the first place? Because there’s a purpose and a plan. You need to create something or mend something.
Remember this the next time you feel like your trials are threading you through the eye of a needle and you’re experiencing pressure, frustration, and anguish. There is a plan and a purpose—My plan—and that is to create something glorious with your life: a tapestry with deep colors, intricate detail, and beauty, the kind that can only be created through the trying of one’s faith. It’s those difficult and hard-earned lessons that make the tapestry of your life stand apart.
Originally published September 2008. Adapted and republished June 2016.
Read by Jerry Paladino. Music by John Listen.