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How can we go on with God and follow Jesus when our perception of God’s presence appears to be eclipsed for some time due to a number of trials?  🙄 When we are pressed from every side by unexpected twists of fate, by a stringent necessity to do something we would have rather avoided, and, as a result of these, by a deteriorating physical and mental health condition?  🙄

If you read my blog more often, you might know that I do not like to share theories here. Everything I describe has sprung from my own experiences, whether good or bad. It was only lately as I sensed a considerable number of trials approaching me, seemingly from every side possible. In the beginning I still tried to deal with everything I had to by walking in the Spirit. However, due to sleep deprivation for weeks, I got weaker and weaker over time. Crying for God’s help in terms of deliverance did not seem to help here since after such prayers even more trials appeared to pop up out of nowhere. Although I subtly sensed God’s leading on what to do and what to avoid, the choice as to following Him closely in every given situation was partly taken out of my hands because I had to also deal with not-spirit-led people and with situations in which I was the only person who could help out there. :-/

I do not want to go into much detail here as several persons are concerned, but the main trials had to do with personal attacks by the enemy, with several more or less severe sicknesses, with sudden death, and with all manner of stressful situations. I wish I could say I was through now, but I am not. Several times over the last weeks I asked the Lord how I should keep seeking Him through prayer when I could hardly keep my eyes open. As much as I felt the devil trying hard to drive me over the edge (and I was pretty close to the edge, to be honest with you), I also knew that such an outcome could not be God’s sovereign will. I have been struggling very hard to reach a higher perspective on all things that clung to my heart and soul, pulling me almost down on a level of hopelessness and despair.

It was only yesterday in the evening when suddenly the dark veil in my spirit got lifted for the first time. It was not so that I ever felt forsaken by God and Jesus. I knew they were in the background all the time. But I also remember before these trials began I had seen them both with a serious and rather sad expression on the face. At that time I was truly wondering what that meant. Now I know… They knew what I had to go through and that it would mean a lot of suffering for me. Both God, our Father, and Jesus share our pains and our joys. That is something I did not know before. For three months I have known that Jesus shares my pains, now I know it is just the same with our Father in Heaven.

Today it has become clear to me that every trial and suffering should be able to drive us deeper into our relationship with God. We are being conformed into Christ’s image through suffering with Him.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him […] (Heb 5:7-9 ESV)

As Jesus had to learn obedience through what He suffered, we should not be surprised that we need to learn to obey Christ through exactly the same means. Have you noticed that verse 9 above emphasizes Christ being the source of eternal salvation ONLY to those who obey Him?  🙄 That reminds me of another confirming Scripture that says,

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (Jn 3:36 ESV)

It also seems to me when we are led by the Spirit to suffer with Christ, we will also experience His glory in an ever deeper way after every period of suffering. We read in Romans,

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom 8:16-19 ESV)

All images by Susanne Schuberth 2021