I have been thinking recently about how I respond to trials that don't seem like they will ever end. I believe part of our human response that helps us cope is to believe within our hearts that the various trials we face all have a shelf life. But, some are called to live with something hard for their entire lives and we need in our humanness to know what to do with that.
This has come to bear as of late as I have been thinking often of my experiences in the Central African Republic and listening to others talk about their mission experiences in some of the poorest places on earth. Many of these people will spend the remainder of their lives on earth living through some of the hardest things any human being will face. I've also been thinking about Paul who pleaded with God to take away his perpetual "thorn in the flesh" that literally "tormented" (beat him up daily). This seemed to be something that was with him for a lifetime.
As I think on these things, I am becoming more and more convinced that we must determine early in our journey with God to find our hope securely in Him. So often our hope is rooted in a belief that the trial will end or that there is some magic bullet to fix it all when in reality God is calling us to find our hope and purpose in Him and Him alone. It really comes down to a simple decision. Do I really believe that the ultimate purpose of my life is to bring glory to God which is often done through how I trust and reflect Him back to the world through my response to trials. Paul sets a good example for us and gives us the truth to hold on to in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Until we acknowledge that our spiritual sufficiency is in Christ alone, our hope lies in the empty desires that no trial will last too long before we can feel good again. I believe it is very important that all of us determine early in life how we will respond to trials that may never end this side of glory. A book that has helped me process this is called "When Life is Hard" by James MacDonald.