October 30, 2011

For those who don’t know because of my visual disability I wear a very thick set of contacts. These contacts are a special prescription that cost around $300.00 to purchase. They generally last about six months and then have to be replaced because they begin to make your vision worse. In the time I’ve worn them I’ve lost the left one and I’ve lost the right one but never at the same time, that is until this week. I had lost the right one over the summer which is okay because I can train my eyes to work just fine off one contact but when you don’t have both your world becomes a hardly discern-able blur so bad that one can’t really make out the people who are speaking to them without great difficulty. The blind have many responses to this inability to recognize people, one of which is to memorize a persons voice, but even that can fail at times.

It’s certainly made the past week interesting considering I still have to go to classes and work. This morning at breakfast someone who was unfamiliar to me sat down (I didn’t know them, had never seen them with contacts) and I had to ask their name. I’ve also had some very intense headaches that yesterday caused me to have to leave work early.

It’s safe to say that this has been a bit of a trial for me. For one I value my independence, I like to make people forget that I have a visual disability, I hate asking for help with anything and because of that Pride has always been a struggle in my life. But then what of my relationship with Christ? Where does the strength and new insight God has given me over the past six months come into this trial?

After the contact disappeared I found myself asking a couple of questions in relation to God’s role in our trials

The Question: Why would God allow to experience trials?: Why would God allow the wind to come up and blow away the one device I use to see at all times? Well if God wants to be good to us I’d say that He wouldn’t allow it. That the wind is part of a fallen creation and therefore unless God said to the wind “Go and take away Faulkner’s contacts” (which I doubt). No instead I believe that God, seeing my contact fly away and seeing the six or seven Professor’s, RD’s and Students searching for it was awaiting my reaction. Would I be teachable or would I slide into depression like I have so many times in the past. Would I be faithful to my studies, using the technology He has so graciously given me to continue pressing on towards the goal of getting my BA in Ministry, or would I sit in my room and pout because I couldn’t see.

I think when we experience trials at the hands of a depraved world or just to fallen creation God wants more than anything for our reaction. He wants to see if we are going to let Him teach us because it is in times of trials that God teaches some of the biggest lessons and reveals to us the most about who He is.

So what is the best reaction in times of trouble?

The Solution: Praying in times of trouble:  When I returned to my room that night I had two options: 1. Be extremely angry at myself for losing that contact, sink into depression and fall asleep for as long as I could so as not to think about it as I would have done last year. Whining the whole time to my friends and causing great strain to my closest friendships or 2. I can fall down on my knees before the true and living God, who’s so big as to have supremacy over all creation who is also personal enough to know me inside and out and loves me despite my short comings.

Now with all that God has been showing me and teaching me this past six or seven months the first option didn’t make much sense. So I fell down on my knees and asked God for His sustaining love to hold me up while I struggled with not being able to see. I cried out to Him, asked others to pray for me, called my dad and instead of taking no action, got the ball rolling on getting a new pair that will hopefully get here later this week. I continued going to work in the Theater, continued going to classes, even asked for help.

The Result: A Closer Walk with Thee: Through this experience I have found that in times of trouble God is closer to us if we let Him. When we turn and run from His grace in times of trouble, when we hide behind our self pity instead of taking troubles directly to the feet of Christ we will only feel worse. However when we drop down to our knees in prayer, and ask others to pray for us it allows God to show up and do something incredible. To reveal to us the strength of our friendships, to show us the strength of His love. If we forget that God can sustain us and rely totally on others we are going to be let down but if we hit the word and pray God draws us in and brings us closer to Him. Our walks get closer, God moves and suddenly a time of trouble turns into a time of communion with Christ, and though the trouble is still there we have a closeness with a big God who’s hand will sustain us through that time of trouble.

It’s interesting that God would choose to reveal all this to me during a spiritual emphasis week devoted to prayer but dear friends this is important. Just as Jesus prayed in the Garden, we should pray in times of troubles. In that moment of weakness we should rely heavily on an unchanging God. Unlike Jesus in the Garden we don’t know the outcome but if we lean on the one who does we are much better off.

If you are struggling with anything, whether it’s the future, a relationship, being far from home, whatever it is, I encourage you to commit it totally to prayer. To allow God the pleasure of glorifying Himself through you. Then rest assured that the same God who sustained the Israelites’ in the wilderness, who took Gideon and made Him a great leader and who sent His son to die for your sins. Is the same God who will see you through your times of trouble, who wants to teach you and who desires to hear your troubles. Dear friends, every thing in times of trouble, take it to the Lord in prayer!

Jon Faulkner
10:31 Ministries