[Revelation 12:10-11 NKJV] Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
So what is really on the other side of trials? Waiting on the other side of every trial that we go through in life are victory, joy, and redemption. In short, you come out with a testimony, a story to tell that bears witness to the fact that you survived. And there are others who will go through similar valley experiences and will need to hear that it is possible to come out victorious and better for the experience. When you go through hard times, your testimony is your gift to others coming behind you. In the community of faith, it is through the sharing of our testimonies that we are able to encourage one another to find the strength to press through the valley and learn the lessons that need to be learned. Sometimes the very thing that we are meant to learn is hidden in the testimony of another member in the community who made it through the same situation. Nothing that happens in the journey of life is without purpose or plan. When you entrust your life to the sovereignty of God, everything that happens is filtered through the fingers of God’s grace. He knows exactly what you can handle, what lessons you need to learn, and just how much pressure is needed in order to produce the precious diamond in your life. And He loves you, and those around you, too much to allow anything to cause you permanent harm.
[Romans 8:28, 37-39 ESV] And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
People think that life following God is going to be all sunshine and rainbows, and that simply isn’t the truth. Jesus spoke plainly before His crucifixion and resurrection, confirming that we as His followers would encounter hard times, mostly because we live in a fallen and broken world. But He also promised that He had already overcome the world. Therefore, we have a testimony in the midst of the storm, and, once He brings us through, we have an even greater testimony that will help someone else along their own journey. Every single hard time we go through has the potential to teach us and grow us, along with encouraging someone else who is watching to stay the course. The way you handle your own valley experience is a testimony in and of itself to others who are watching. Through you, they will know whether God is real or not. Through you, they will see that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can keep God from loving them. Through you, they will come to a better understanding of how much they are loved by their Creator, and that, if you can make it through victorious, they can too.
[2 Corinthians 4:7-10 RSV] But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
Essentially, we will get beat up in the journey of life, but we cannot be shaken, so long as we remember that Christ has already won the victory on the cross. At the same time, we are walking buried treasure. Consider this: In the days of pirates seeking booty, they would have to search the depths of the sea, looking far and wide. Maybe they were guided by a map. Maybe they would stumble upon someone’s booty by accident. Either way, they never missed an opportunity for gain through the discovery of treasure. (Stay with me LOL) We live in a world of spiritual pirates, people who are either intentionally or unintentionally searching for hope and light in a dark place. When they encounter us, those who follow Christ and could be going through a valley circumstance, they ought to discover buried treasure. Through our walk and our testimony, we house in our “earthen vessels” messages of light and hope that are the treasure that they are searching for. That is a part of the joy that comes when you encounter trials in life. It is not a moment to feel like you are being picked on, even though you are feeling the heat of the refiner’s fire and the pressure of the coal being made into a diamond. Instead, it is an opportunity to highlight the treasure that you carry, the hope that you possess that helps you press through the valley and come out on the other side shining bright like a diamond (don’t hate me – I couldn’t resist. Besides, how much does Rihanna REALLY know about shining like a diamond?) As the glory of God shines through your life and through your valley encounter, someone else will also reap the benefit of the lessons that you learn in the crucible of the valley. And, when they encounter you on the other side, while you are on the mountain and they are in the valley, they will be encouraged to keep going because they see the light on the other side. This is the joy that we have in trials. God promised us the victory has already been won, and others will see the treasure and keep the faith because they will see that there is hope. So, keep shining, keep pressing, keep sharing. You have a testimony that someone else needs to hear.