There isn’t a human being who has not gone through some difficult situation. Life is good, but life can sometimes be hard: Addiction, Abuse, Death, Loneliness, Sickness, Debt, Bad grades, Absent parents, Absent spouse and the list goes on and on.
Christians are not exempt from the hardships of life. We do not get into a ‘Jesus bubble’ and somehow escape these difficulties. Christ was tested and His Word tells us to armour up and prepare for battle.
How do we really endure life’s ups and downs? There are days when you will be a warrior, overcomer, trampling on the metaphorical heads of snakes and scorpions. Then there are times you will feel weak, battered and broken; wandering around “Worry land”, as a certified worrier with an MPhil in “Worriology”. We will never be on a joy-juice high or live on the mountain top all of our days, no matter how much we wish we could.
However, I truly believe that Christians have an advantage when we encounter challenges. What is that advantage? We have the right perspective!
As you surrender to God, and as you are transformed by the renewing of your mind, your outlook on life and its challenges will change. Once your perspective changes, the way you approach the ups and downs of this life, will also change. Our perspective changes, because our BELIEF, changes.
So, I ask, what do you believe when things go wrong? When difficulty arises, what do you believe?
Do you believe that God is punishing you? Do you think that He is intentionally leaving you to suffer because of something you did? Do you think that he has forgotten you?
OR … do you believe HIS promises...
That his plans for you are good and not evil, that His plan is to give you a hope and a future? (Jere 29:11)
Do you believe that though we are hard pressed on every side, we are not crushed, we are perplexed but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed? (2 Cor 4:8-9)
Do you believe that the Lord is your light and your salvation, whom shall you fear, the Lord is the strength of your life of whom shall you be afraid? (Psalms 27)
However, the nature and depth of what we believe depends on the maturity of our faith.
I remember when I was in Primary School my parents could not afford the fanciest sneakers to send us to school. So, the 80’s baby that I am, I wore an infamous sneakers called “flames”, which subjected me to much ridicule and teasing from classmates. I would go home to my mother hurt and complaining about the unfair taunting.
I cannot imagine that now that I am in my 30’s, if someone makes fun of my handbag or ‘big back’ television (all true examples lol 😊), that my response would be the same hurt and complaint. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you won’t be hurt when someone lies about you or attacks your character, but what I am saying is this, because you have matured, some things should not have the same impact as when you were a child.
Living your faith is not theory, it’s in the practice. Maturity comes with practice. Not just faith exercised for the huge life changing decisions or experiences but the small and seemingly insignificant ones too. How do you respond to a “bad drive”, a disrespectful boss or an underhanded co-worker?
How you respond depends on what you believe. What you believe will depend on how close your relationship is with God. How close you are with God will depend on how much of your life you have surrendered to God. How much you have surrendered your life to God will depend on how much you love and trust him. All of this is ultimately rooted in your knowledge and the revelation of God’s deep, irreversible and unconditional love for you.
The bigger the issue, the deeper your trust must be. Every difficulty, even those orchestrated by Satan can and most times will strengthen your faith and help you to grow in Christ.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
God loves you, you love God, you surrender to God, you grow closer to God, you believe God, you face trials, you respond in faith, you trust Him, you trust His Word and He will take you past that challenge. The Lord would come through for you and the next time you face a similar challenge, you won’t be as scared, you would more than likely make the right decision faster and before you know it, when a similar issue comes around again, you would be trusting God without even consciously directing your mind to it.
Quick Story: My first time ziplining. I was scared out of my mind, afraid of heights, unwilling to step off the platform, wondering whether this thing would hold me up, will I fall, as I kept back a line of people waiting behind me. Although the attendant tried to assure me that it wouldn’t break, I didn’t know him and his words were of no comfort…oh faith where are you! After muchhhhhh hesitation I eventually worked up enough courage but still afraid; I let go. I am writing this, so you know how the story ended. I did not fall and the lines didn’t break.
By the third of seven lines, I was whizzing my way down those lines, and having fun 😊. That is what trust in God is like. The same way that you can’t see the platform at the end of the line and you can’t see the end of the difficulty; God is saying, (like the attendant🙈) you won’t fall. So trust God and let go!
Trials/tests/difficulties won’t seem half as hard, if you approach it from a perspective of faith and trust in GOD. Practiced Faith- not just the theory of reading about faith. Practiced faith that has deepened and concretised your trust in God so that when situations arise you will truly believe that God will provide, that He will supply your every need, that he will make your enemies to be your footstool, and that he will grant you the desires of your heart.
You may be having the best time of your life or you may be going through your toughest challenge. Both require a revelation that God is God of the mountain and the valley. Jesus the Messiah lived…he experienced the same ups and downs…one week they were singing Hosanna to him and the next week they killed him.
However, on the third day he rose triumphantly from the grave and I know that with Jesus, you too will arise from the dust of despair and the weight of worry to live victoriously through all the ups and downs of life.