Growing up in central Georgia, I often heard this expression. We all know that a humid day feels much more miserable than a day at the same temperature with low humidity. We’re going to look at our human suffering and trials that we encounter in life from the same type of perspective.
What I have learned, from personal experience, observation of others, and study of the Bible, is that quite often “It isn’t the depth of the trial, it’s how long it lasts!” In studying Psalm 15, we see David, the writer of the Psalm ask the same question. He feels that God has forgotten about him. David is searching for God but just isn’t connecting.
At the time, David was in the midst of a long trial. Saul, Israel’s King, was obsessed with killing him. David would not do harm to God’s anointed King, so he ran and hid… for a very long, lonely time.
Often, that’s how is it with the trials we face. It is a painful time, either physically, emotionally, or both, which goes on longer than we think is bearable. At first we think, “This isn’t too bad. I can deal with it.” We expect it to last for a certain period. Then we find out it is worse than we thought and/or it continues for longer than we expected. We begin to lose hope. Those around us have come to accept the trial as normal so their support wanes. That’s not a knock against them, it is the way most humans are wired.
Like the infamous Chinese Water Torture, where drops of water are used to tirelessly, relentlessly, wear down the human spirit, so do the trials in our lives. It is the constant battle against them, the intrusion into our daily living, which are like the drops of water to our forehead. It wears us down and beats us up, all the while those around us think, “That’s not really a big deal.” Our strength and resolve drains. For me, this is my battle with Cauda Equina Syndrome. Strangely enough, my fight with diabetes hasn’t felt the same way, even though diabetes can easily kill you whereas CES won’t.
I’m not saying there are not times and trials we face that are profoundly devastating and hope-robbing. Very deep pain which hurts to the extreme. Pain which takes a very long time to go away, if ever. These trials are like hitting your thumb with a hammer – intense pain which has a relatively short life span, followed by a much longer time of lingering pain. It develops into the kind of trial I’ve been talking about.
So… what do we do? Well that depends a lot on our personality, our perseverance, and our faith. For me, it is my faith in God’s goodness. Does that mean I will always think of trials as good? No. But I also know that God allows or brings such trials in order to move my character, values, and actions to become more like His Son, Jesus. For those who have placed their trust in Jesus, God the Father uses the events in our lives, both good and bad, to develop us further into what He wants us to be. For those readers who don’t have a Father/Son/Daughter relationship with God, wouldn’t you like to have an all knowing, all loving, all powerful Father who always does what is for your ultimate best? Learn how to enter into a father/child relationship with God.
When we’re facing unbearable trials, who better to hold us and comfort us?