We all have trials. Some of them are huge, life-altering trials and some of them are small, nagging trials, but trials are something we all share in common because we’re all sinners living in a sinful world. When it comes to our smaller trials, another thing I think a lot of us have in common is the tendency to see them as if they were 50 stories tall. If we’re not careful we can create a false perception of those smaller trials that blows them out of proportion. Suddenly, in our thinking, a kid who won’t potty train becomes this mountain we must climb instead of a foothill. It usually doesn’t start out this way, but gradually over time the trial grows in our estimation until we become discontent, fearful, anxious or just plain mad. In this false perception of our smaller trials, there’s no accountability. We’ve deceived ourselves into thinking that we have 20/20 vision when it comes to viewing our trials so we don’t see the need to tell anyone about them… surely someone else can’t tell us something we don’t already know.
My wife said something last night that I think is brilliant when it comes to our smaller trials. Up until recently, our four year-old has had no desire to potty train… it seemed like the kid was always going to be content to walk around with a bulging diaper full of waste. Keri and I had been working to try and “inspire” our son to embrace the diaper-less life, but nothing was working, so we got discouraged, discontent and angry. We saw the trial as a mountain instead of foothill. So last night as Keri and I were talking she said, “It sounds so stupid when you say it out loud… ‘The biggest trial in my life right now is a kid who won’t potty train.'” I think she hit on something important in saying this. We need to talk about our trials out loud. I don’t mean that we should declare their existence into the air; I mean we need to talk to other Christians about them. We need this because we often have a disproportionate, skewed view of our circumstances when we let them run free, unchecked in our minds. Sharing our trials with other believers will give us a perception of our trials that is closer to reality and then help us craft the proper biblical response. The author of Hebrews says, “But exhort one another every day as long as it is called ‘today’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (3:13). He is expressing the need for us to speak into each others’ lives so that we won’t be hardened by sin, but we can’t speak into each others’ lives if we don’t know what’s going on. So, say it out loud! Don’t believe the lie that you can be your own counselor.