My family was recently faced with an unexpected trial when a came across the Catherine Marshall quote. What follows is a combination of what I journaled after reading it and what I wrote a few weeks later around Easter time.
“To know God as He really is – in His essential nature and character – is to arrive at a citadel of peace that circumstances may storm, but can never capture.” –Catherine Marshall
As we spend time with God, loving Him, and truly coming to know and understand Him, He is able to release peace and protection into our lives. This is not a difficult thing. It only requires us to decide that our relationship with Him is important enough to invest time into it every day by reading His Word and talking to Him through prayer, just like we invest time into any other relationship that is important to us. Then we can take the time to share our hearts with Him and let Him know our requests (Phil. 4:6-7). The truth is that God cares about us, and He wants to support us through life’s circumstances. He does not want us to take the easy way out, but He will guide us to the best way through the circumstances if we allow Him to. God never promises that as Christians we won't have trials. In fact, the opposite is true (John 16:33). What He does promise is that He will protect us through them if we set our hearts on Him (Psalm 91). Circumstances can either cause us to stumble or they can present opportunities for us to know God better and see Him work miracles in our lives (James 1:2-3, Rom. 8:28). It all depends on where our focus lies. If we focus on the circumstances we will stumble. If we focus on and trust in Him, we will overcome. Circumstances are temporary; God is eternal. Any circumstance can be worked through, no matter how difficult, if we allow God to guide us, and then follow through and do what He has shown us. We can only be victorious to the degree that we trust in Him (Matt. 9:29b). Our trust is displayed through our actions. “Only as [we] walk will the waters of adversity be parted before [us]” (Frances Roberts) (Josh. 3:13).
I think Christ's submission to His Father in the garden is the best example of trusting God in a trial. As Christians we’re to be like Christ. Before Jesus went to the garden He had walked in relationship with His Father and knew His Father "in His essential nature and character" (Matt. 11:27). What struck me as I was reading the story of Jesus in Gethsemene, was His implicit trust of the Father, and the peace that He carried despite what He was about to face once He settle in Himself that He would follow through with the Father's plan. Three times He asked His Father to take the cup from Him, yet each time He ended with, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Matt. 26:37-45). It was God’s plan that Christ be crucified. Many scriptures show us this (Isa. 53:10, Rom. 3:25, 1 Cor. 2:7, 1 Pet. 1:20). If it was man’s will for Christ to die, He would have been dead in the first months of His ministry. Two separate occasions are mentioned in Scripture where He escaped mobs bent on murdering Him (Luke 4:28-10, John 10:31-39). He even said when He was arrested, “Do you suppose that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will immediately provide Me with more than twelve legions [more than 80,000] of angels?" (Matt. 26:53). If He had not trusted His Father, He probably would have escaped yet again & never looked back. But He was determined to fulfill His purpose (Matt. 26:54). We don’t know exactly how much He understood about what would happen to Him after the arrest, but He had returned to Jerusalem so that He could be arrested, tried, and crucified (Matt. 16:21-23, Mark 10: 32-34). He even told Judas to go through with the betrayal: “What you are going to do, do more swiftly than you seem to intend and make quick work of it” (John 13:21-33). He knew that He was going to endure the worst thing He had ever faced, yet He trusted the Father enough to go through with it (1 Pet. 2:23). We may not always understand what is going on in our lives, but it’s important that we trust the Father implicitly and follow through with His guidance even though it may seem like we’re coming through Hell & back. If we trust Him, He will protect and support us with His peace, and guide us with His wisdom, and we will come through victoriously!