When the world is throwing you one curveball after another, we can hold on to the never-changing God.
There are no guarantees in life. We will surely experience both ups and downs throughout our lifetime. We usually find it easy to praise God during the good times. There is little resistance to saying “it is well with my soul” when it is all going our way. It becomes so much harder during a time of struggle. However, it is even more crucial to believe in God when things are challenging. When life feels unstable, God’s constant character can provide a solid foundation.
The ebb and flow of life is a certainty. Nothing (but God) ever stays the same. For most, there are times of prosperity and good fortune. This could come in the form of rewarding work, great fun amongst friends and family, robust finances, good health, and a promising future. It is inevitable to be thrown a curveball every now and then. Seasons of strife will disrupt our stride in various fashions. Perhaps someone you know might become ill or even pass away. Maybe you’ve been fired and find yourself without a reliable source of income for a time. You may experience betrayal by a friend or relative. Things that used to feel safe are now unpredictable.
In these conditions, how can you trust God to be good? When you don’t comprehend what’s going on, how do you trust Him? When there isn’t a resolution to be found? God wants to answer all of these valid questions for you.
To trust something means to believe in its dependability, honesty, capacity, or strength. So, trusting God is believing in His steadfastness, His Word, His capability, and His power. God, according to the Bible, cannot lie. Trusting Him entails believing that what He says about Himself, the world, and you is accurate.
Trusting God is more than a sentiment; it’s a decision to believe what He says, even when your feelings or circumstances lead you to think otherwise. Your emotions and situations are important and deserving of your attention, but they are insufficient to build a solid foundation for your faith. They can change in an instant. God, on the other hand, remains constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and is, indeed, deserving of your confidence.
It’s not about ignoring your feelings or reality when you trust God. It does not imply that everything is okay when it is not. Living a life of faith and obedience to God, even when it’s difficult, is what it means to trust God.
Here are three ways you can live in this tension and be at peace . . .
God uses troubles to DIRECT you: To get you moving, God sometimes needs to spark a fire under you. Problems frequently lead us in a different direction and inspire us to change. Is God nudging you? “Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts” (Proverbs 20:30, ESV). This is basically meaning that sometimes it takes a traumatic event to force us to change our ways.
God uses problems to PROTECT you: A difficulty might be a disguised benefit if it protects you from something more dangerous. I was kicked out of my childhood home at thirteen years old. I thought it was the worst thing that could happen to me. But I realized years later that I was being protected from some very evil people by leaving that environment.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).
God uses problems to PERFECT you: When problems are handled correctly, they help to create character. God is considerably more concerned with your character than with your convenience. The only two things you’ll take into eternity are your relationship with God and your character.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4, niv).
Remember, until the perfect pair sinned, the world was perfect when God created us: no sickness, no pain, no death. The entire world has been cursed; it has also fallen and is suffering because of our rebellion. Disease, rot, and death were spread throughout creation as a result of human sin. Our sin stained and destroyed God’s perfect creation. We now live in an imperfect and fallen world which does cause a great amount of suffering.
Personal anguish is a feature of all of our journeys. Sadly, this is the reality of life. Relationships, health, safety, and financial stability are all issues that we face.
Becoming a Christian does not guarantee that we will not face difficulties. In fact, Jesus’ own words warn us that we will. The question isn’t “Will we suffer?” but rather “How will we handle our suffering?”
We handle it by looking to Jesus. The One who stepped in and freely gave His life on the cross for his broken creation in order to exhibit the Father’s infinite love. Sorrow and suffering aren’t just an unavoidable part of life, but something that the God of the Cross and the Resurrection can use to achieve His ultimate victory. And if we keep that hope? If we fix our gaze? We’ll understand what it’s all for in the end.
Jonni Nicole Parsons is an author and founder of the digital marketing company Sunday Morning Marketing, where she offers customized services to help clients build their unique brand. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications. Jonni and her husband make their home on the East Coast, where she can often be found hanging out with friends, drinking coffee, or reading a theology book. Her new book, Ignited, releases from Tyndale in October. Visit her online at jonninicole.com.