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Must This Trial Master Me?


The raw reality of the afternoon phone call left me feeling crummy. Not knowing what to do in the aftermath, I knelt in one of my favorite spots to pray. Bowing before my blue wingback chair, I talked the matter over with my heavenly Father. Soon after, I lifted my pen. One sentence ended, and another started as the words poured forth onto the pages of my journal.

Gently then, as only He can do, the Holy Spirit took over and guided me to my desired haven. After a lengthy season of quiet contemplation, stability emerged—not in absence of the trial—but in the reality that He was now in control.

I invite you to join me in my living room and observe how The Lord led through this painful maze. His schooling for me embraces three realities:

Let it

With my emotional boat taking water, I revisited the phrase Let it.

The Book of James contains this often-overlooked concept, which offers profound wisdom in the how-to for holding on in the turbulent sea of a trial. He admonishes us to stop fighting (wrestling) the trial and Let it; Let the process produce a godly result.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4 ESV). When we release the trial into the Hands of Providence, He receives it and somehow uses it for His glory, our good, and our growth.

So Let it; let the trial do the work He intends, which is refining our character and molding us more into the Image of His Son.

Leave it

Then, Leave it with Him. Leave it. My tendency is to give the trial to God, and then grab it back, mentally, that is.

You and I suffer the temptation to rethink, rehearse, reword, and recreate all angles and aspects of said trial. In this stew, we become victims all over again of our own thought pattern, and we find ourselves, once more, chained like a prisoner to the very matter we want to submit to God’s control.

The only way to break this destructive cycle is to Leave it. Leave it with Him. The pure delight of peace and confidence comes—and stays—when the trial remains in His Hands, not mine. Indeed, the re-offering must transpire, because we are human. But each time, yet again, Leave it I must.


The joy of living a full and abundant life does not depend on my trial being resolved! No. The enemy wants me to believe this, but such deceit rises as a lie from his pit.

On the contrary, The Word of God tells me, In Thy presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). His presence is with me and His presence provides my joy, not the resolution of my trial. Sure, feel-goods—spiritual endorphins—are replenished when the trial eventually abates, but His anchor of joy remains fixed throughout the process.

So, from my wingback chair to my walk back into life, I share my conviction of Let it, Leave it, and then Live. No, this trial does not have to master me, or you.

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

When did you last feel that a trial threatened to sideline you?

How did you manage to move forward, in spite of its painful reality?

Which part of this process (Let it, Leave it, Live) seems most helpful to you?

The Long, Long Reach of Prayer


Guest Post by Vivian Hyatt

When I was growing up, we sang in church “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.” Did we know what we were asking? The adults in the church maybe did; I certainly didn’t, as a child, then a teenager. The need to pray—nay, the desperation—has kept me near the cross in ways I did not want nor could I anticipate. What the saints before me have learned, I had to find out for myself. God has given—is giving—me that opportunity. Near the cross: death to some of my dreams and deep longings for ones I love dearly; grief for what look like lost years, years they could have been walking with the Lord. Sadness that threatens to overwhelm me at times. But—near the cross. Where else could I possibly go?

I have always “believed” in prayer. Which is to say, I’ve always believed it was more than a good idea: it was the right thing to do. Jesus prayed; He still prays. He taught the disciples to pray and gave them a sample prayer. That, in itself, should speak volumes. He didn’t say, “Don’t sweat it, I’ve got you covered.” He taught them that their heavenly Father was actually listening, waiting, expecting them to pray—and that He would answer. He Himself prayed such an intimate prayer to His Father in John 17 that it could make one jealous. “I’m coming to You, Father,” He said, several times and in several ways. He could hardly wait, it seems, to get there. And He appeared to have a need to express that longing in prayer, even though it would be just a very short time before He came into His Father’s presence.

Because Jesus prays, I believe in prayer.

The hitch, then: why do some of my “lesser” prayers seem to be answered more readily than my greater ones? When my husband was a seminary student and I was full-time Cru staff, we were getting short checks and were church-mouse-poor. One day, I dropped a contact lens on the floor of our tiny bathroom. I got down on my hands and knees and felt over the entire floor. I carefully shook out the small rug and felt some more. We couldn’t afford another contact lens. I prayed for three days. The third day, as I was “sitting there,” I kept gazing at the floor. There it was, on the rug.

Again, just before Christmas, we ran out of food and money at the same time. Our Crusade check wasn’t due for another week. We decided to pray and not tell anyone except God of our need. We immediately received an invitation to dinner at someone’s home. We got different invitations to dinner each evening all that week. We hadn’t had any invitations all semester. The day our check came, the invitations stopped.

Do I still believe in prayer?

And yet—thirty years ago, I began what has become a long reach of prayer for major answers I have not seen, answers on a different scale entirely than those “minor miracles.” I can’t be certain I will ever see these answers, at least not in this life. What, then? Do I still believe in prayer?

Philip Yancey, in his book Prayer, Does It Make any Difference? writes that, when we pray, we are “keeping company with God.” What would I trade for the last thirty years of keeping company with God? And—not only when I’m desperate.

One morning decades ago, with the exhaustion that comes of having several small children, I struggled with myself when the alarm went off. But I had committed myself to getting up—I’d seen the positive change in me. So had my husband. I got up and opened my Bible to where I had left off the day before. This is what I read: “The Lord God has given me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not disobedient, nor did I turn back.” (Isaiah 50:4-5) I was moved to tears. The Lord wanted to keep company with me! That has been my watchword ever since: spending time with Him, in His word and in prayer, is for both of us.

Sometimes, though, prayer still seems like a long, long reach. But if I’ve been praying for thirty years, it’s too soon to stop now. And He seems to want me there, near the cross.

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Vivian and her husband, Trent, served with Cru in Eastern Europe and Russia for 39 years. They now live in Dayton, Ohio and go back to Eastern Europe twice a year to teach in the Institute of Biblical Studies and to mentor missionary leaders. When she’s not on airplanes, Vivian enjoys gardening, reading books to Trent while he washes the dinner dishes, skyping with her four grandchildren who live in Germany, as well as her five children who live in two countries outside the US and two states. She must read, and she must write. Best of all, she loves sharing life with Trent.

Lean In and Listen to the Regrets of the Dying


Does the thought of regret-free living arrest your attention? Gentle Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware—author, songwriter, and international speaker—once cared for dying patients. Over the course of those eight years, common threads emerged from her conversations with those she sat beside. Now, in urging us on toward regret-free living, she offers the profound words she heard.

(Please note that the source content of this blog is taken in totality from The Guardian, Marie TV, and Bronnie Ware’s writings.)

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

In an interview with *Nurse Ward (link provided below), she shares further Nuggets o’ Wisdom:

There’s no point of success if there’s not balance with it.

You become more and more courageous as you start using the wisdom of the dying as a tool for living.

Living With Eternal Intentionality®

“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children” (Psalm 103: 15-17 ESV).

If you knew God would call you Home today, what would be your Top Five Regrets?

What will you do to address one regret on your list?

[*Disclaimer: the quote from Buddha is not a part of my Christ-centered theology.]