“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” James 1:2-4
How easy is it for you to find joy or the “silver lining” in every situation?
What exactly is a silver lining?
Looking up into the sky right before a storm, I can often see dark clouds passing overhead. As they get into position and do their job of creating rain, they also block the sun. When I look closely at the edges of those ominous clouds, I can see the sun shining around the edges, like a silver lining.
Difficult times come to each of us. As someone once said, “It is not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ they will come”. When the dismal clouds cover over your life, what do you do?
I continue to learn when trials come there is ALWAYS a silver lining.
I can find something to be grateful for. During this difficult time of finding cancer again, I find it is easier to be less stressed than the first time. We have done this before and we will do it again. I find I am less hesitant to let people help me and I am more able to take the rest God is providing in the midst.
Here are a few things that keep me grounded and focusing on the “silver lining” during my times of trial:
- I journal gratefulness. Each day, I make myself find 10 things to be grateful for. They have to be “new every morning”, and I don’t allow myself to pull points from yesterday. This God-inspired ritual helps me see the goodness in the midst of the pain. I have had surgery and am recouping, but the silver lining is more time to spend with friends who visit and to rest with no agenda. I have to eat a very simple fare - which is a challenge at times - but the silver lining is in eating the food God made for us, I am the weight I should be. There is always something to be thankful for.
- I remember God’s miraculous power. I was a miracle not once, but twice now. As I study God’s word and live out the plan He has chosen for me, I find joy in seeing his miraculous power. He is able to do anything. I am grateful for the many answered prayers, but even in the unanswered prayers I am confident that He is God, no matter what. The silver lining is being able remember who God is – His power, His goodness and His love.
- I get out in God’s beauty. Nothing grounds me more than being in nature. I feel connected to God’s majesty and to the ages past. Nothing seems as big of a deal when I am sitting on the beach listening to the waves or hiking in the mountains near a waterfall. Suddenly, my worries slip away, and I am able to focus on who God is and who I am not. This is the silver lining found in trials. A truth I often forget is: God never intended for me to take all my burdens on my shoulders. He has it all under control.
- I seek out peace and tranquility. For me, this is Sabbath rest. To find a shalom in every day allows me to rest in who God is. The silver lining of trials is that I seek this. I crave it! For me, it looks like a quiet house in the morning before I wake up, scrapbooking my family memories or a stolen coffee shop hour to study or write. Peaceful times to hear what God is saying and hear my own heart’s worries in the light of His goodness.
- I embrace God’s community. During difficult times, friends abound and rush to your side. Nothing brings out the best in people like the “C” word. In the past, I may have acted like I can do all things myself. Now I allow myself to take the break when people give it. To really love and embrace those who are wanting to pray for me. I have a tendency to feel embarrassed that I always need to be prayed for. It does get old. But the silver lining in a trial is the blessing of Jesus’s hands and feet here on earth to help in these times.
These are my silver linings in the midst of cancer battle. I just have to say this is a battle that the Lord is winning, too. In my heart and mind, I am being transformed into more of who He wants me to be. My body is healthy and fit. I have no idea what the future holds, but, my friends, neither do you. So take those times of difficulty today – a crying child, a health issue or a financial difficulty, and focus on the “silver lining”. The evil one doesn’t like it when we do this.
What are ways you focus on the “good” in the midst of the “bad”?