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Posted 02/14/2023 in Christian Mental Health Tips

How to Find Meaning in Life's Trials: The Art of Treasure Hunting


How to Find Meaning in Life's Trials: The Art of Treasure Hunting

Every day, people all over the world are faced with trials. Some trials are small, like getting a parking ticket. Others are much bigger, like going through a divorce. No matter what the trial is, it can be difficult to face. 

As Christians, we know that trials and tribulations are inevitable, Jesus Himself says this in John 16:33.  Still, it’s not easy to go through them. When faced with difficulties and trials, it is easy to feel alone and lost. We may even feel like God has abandoned us, but that is never the case. God is always with us, even in our darkest moments. He never leaves us alone and His hand is always at work in our lives.

Many of us know this in theory, we know that God is withLike this content of Facebook us, and for us, we know that there’s supposed to be purpose in our pain and treasure in our trials, but it’s often hard to see it. It’s hard to see the silver lining when the clouds of our trials are so very dark.

In times like these, when the pain is too great to bear, the best place to turn to is God’s Word. The Bible is full of stories about God's people enduring trials. In each story, we are reminded that God is faithful in the end. He doesn't always remove the trial, but He always provides the strength we need to get through it. Having this knowledge along with the comforting hand of God can and will help us overcome any trial in life.

Once we get through our trials, we can try to find the treasure in them and that is what we’ll be discussing in this article.  But before that, let’s look at some Bible stories and remind ourselves of the faithfulness of God.

Biblical Examples Of Trials Turned Into Triumph

The Bible is full of stories that show us the faithfulness of God in the midst of trials. Here are just a few examples:

  • In the book of Exodus, God led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land.

  • In the book of Job, God protected Job through Satan's attacks and finally blessed him with double what he had before.

  • In the book of Daniel, God saved Daniel from the lion's den and gave him wisdom and power in the kingdom.

  • In the story of Joseph, After, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, God placed him in a position of power and influence making him able to save his family from famine.

These stories and many others show us that God is indeed good and faithful, even in the midst of trials. He is always with us, He always turns everything around for our good and His glory. Now that we know there will always be some treasure in our trials, let’s talk about how to look for them.

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What Does It Mean To Treasure Hunt Our Trials

Treasure hunting our trials means finding the good in the bad and making the best out of every situation.  When we treasure hunt our trials, we are looking for the valuable lessons that they can teach us. We begin to see the difficulties and challenges in our lives as opportunities to learn and grow as these experiences can help us to become better people if we are willing to learn from them.

By looking for the treasure in our trials, we can also find the strength to fully overcome them. We can find compassion and understanding for others who are going through similar experiences and we can see the good that God has for us, even in the midst of difficult times. 

There may be hidden treasures in the form of lessons learned, strength gained, or even just a new perspective on life. By taking the time to look for these treasures, we can often come out of our trials stronger and wiser than we were before. 

So how do we do this? How do we find the silver lining in the darkest of clouds? We have to dig deep and be honest with ourselves about what has happened and the way it has affected our lives.

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How To Treasure Hunt Your Trials

Treasure hunting your trials won’t be easy. You’ll be digging deep into things that had once caused you a great amount of pain and while that’s not easy for anyone, it’s worth it in the end. It’s worth it because our trials can be our greatest teachers, they can provide invaluable lessons that help us become better, wiser people, but will never know that until we try to mine the good from the bad.

So before I show you how to treasure hunt your trials with an example from my personal life, I feel like it’s important to let you know that you should never treasure hunt someone’s death but rather treasure hunt what you have experienced since the death. 

Also, be sure to schedule some time with your spouse, a dear friend, a sibling, a parent, your pastor, or a therapist and ask them to either treasure hunt the experience with you or to discuss your insights after your complete the questions. Chances are they will be able to recognize changes in you or the direction of your life that they have seen, and that you may have overlooked.

Here’s an example of how I have treasure-hunted one of my trials. I have bolded the questions that I asked myself and you’ll see my answers below each one.

1. The trial or difficult experience I would like to treasure hunt is (note, the trial can be as recent as this morning or as distant as your childhood):

Not matching for a pre-doctoral internship. For reference, the pre-doctoral internship is the last step before you are granted your Ph.D. Not matching, meant that I would not graduate until I found an internship.  Internships were also only offered once a year, so my life was on "hold" for at least a year.  

2. What positive changes have I experienced because of this trial or difficult experience (note any changes in your attitude, behavior, direction in life, etc.).

  • Taught me to say “Lord, I can’t wait to see how You are working this out for my good” when I go through difficult situations.

  • Due to not being matched, God miraculously opened a position for me in VA. While Virginia was where my mother and sisters lived, I did not apply for any positions there. Being in Virginia, close to my mother, was the first step in growing a deeper relationship with her.

  • This job in VA furthered developed my skills in treating trauma and led to my dream job after graduating.  

  • I met lifelong friends/prayer partners while I was there. These ladies have been there to support me in numerous ways over the years.

  • One of these ladies was the first person to show me “me” in a way that could receive it.

  • Being in VA allowed me to be there when my Godchild was born. I was literally on-call the day she was born but was able to be there because I only worked two hours away.

  • I was able to be there for my childhood best friend when her brother died that year. Where I worked was supported and allowed me to take time off even though it was not a family member's death.

  • They also covered all of my work while I was gone. I felt loved and supported when I returned to work to find they had covered for me. Looking back, I realized I learned early lessons in how to treat employees as humans first from working there.

  • I discovered how strong I am and what I was capable of. While I was excited about God miraculously opening the internship for me, I also had less than 30 days to move from MO to VA by myself. With God, and my mother’s help (remember, I said not being matched was the first step in healing/deepening that relationship), I was able to make the transition. 

3. How was God faithful during this trial or difficult experience:

He opened doors for me and showed how He is ultimately in control.

4. What did I learn from this trial or difficult experience

  • God is really faithful

  • He knows my future and has already prepared me for it

  • He works everything out for my good.

5. How might God use this in the future to help others:

He has used this experience to help me support others when they don’t see what God is up to. After I did not match, I had a few classmates who did not match. They were able to look at me and know if God worked it out for me, He would do the same for them. I am also able to apply this experience to others to help them figure out what is really important and make decisions based on what is important.

As you can see, the questions I asked myself in this exercise helped me find some beautiful treasures in a trial that at first I hoped would never happen. This exercise can help you treasure hunt any trial that you feel ready to dig into and I know it will help you live a life that is filled with so much more gratitude than pain, so I’ve created a worksheet that you can use to go through it too. The worksheet can be downloaded here.

Final Thoughts on How to Find Meaning in Life's Trials:

As you get started with treasure hunting your trials, I pray that God will reveal to you the purpose in your pain so that you can easily see the triumph in your trials and feel so much more gratitude and happiness for all that the Lord has done.  I am fully convinced, that God uses our trials to build our faith. 


About the Author: 

Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams.  In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here: https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2

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