A young wife sits holding her husband’s hand as the doctor tells them the results from the tests she had last week. “It’s cancer,” he says, “we must start treatment immediately.” Her fears rise; she has two young children at home. How will they handle this, what will life be like six months from now or even ten years from now? Will she be around to see her children graduate, get married, have kids of their own?
A young father receives a phone call that will change his life forever. His wife has been killed in a car accident, leaving their three children without a mother. In that moment, he doesn’t know how he will be able to continue without her. The responsibilities are enormous, the questions endless. How will he manage to work, take care of his children, be a father and a mother? And how will his children cope without their mother?
A teenager is faced with life-threatening illness. While her friends are enjoying high school, she is facing doctor’s appointments and hospital stays. Life seems unfair and too hard. She too questions the direction her life is taking her. Will she ever have the life she dreamed of?
Now fast forward six months or even a year. From all outward appearances they are all doing just fine. The young wife and mother has gone through her chemo and radiation. Her doctor is confident that the cancer is gone and her prognosis is good. She is raising her children and believes that the future is bright. The young father is making it work with the help of family and friends, and both he and his children are coping. The young teenager girl, who once didn’t think she would ever graduate high school, is preparing to do just that.
Others too look at them and wonder how that young mother remains so strong after going through what she did, and how she remains hopeful for the future. How did that young father go on providing for and raising his children without his wife? How did that young teenager continue with school while dealing with such an illness? From an earthly standpoint, one might comment that they are such physically strong people that of course they could handle all these difficulties. Or that their support system was unbelievable. Or that they had the best doctors and medicine that one can have. And while these all may be true, the real answer that they were able to continue with their lives is that each day they woke up and looked to their Father in heaven. From him they received the strength to continue. It sounds so cliché to say take each day as it comes, but oh how true it is! And how often might not the words of the popular hymn run through our heads: “Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here. Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, gives unto each day what He deems best…Every day the Lord Himself is near me, with a special mercy for each hour…”
The 3 situations above are just a few examples of the trials and afflictions that may occur in the life of a child of God. One must not think that he is immune to trials and afflictions; at some point we will all face various difficulties: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous…” (Ps. 34:19). We too will have questions, fears, and doubts. We too may wonder how we will make it through. And when we have these doubts, we must remember that we have a Father in heaven who loves us. It is he who has sent us these trials and afflictions in the first place, and he will ultimately lead us through. We go back to Psalm 34:19: “…the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” What a comfort then is Lamentation 3:22—23: “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”