Last week I wrote how many of us will feel confused and powerless for periods of our life. It’s the reality of living in a fallen world with broken people.
These moments are painful, yet necessary and helpful. They expose our functional level of faith in God - our capacity to truly leave things up to him - and they provide us with an opportunity to mature in our faith.
If we respond biblically during seasons when life makes little or no sense, we can experience spiritual blessing in the midst of confusing and difficult times. Here are a few ways how:
I think that usually our view of difficulty is to bunker down and survive the storm. Our response must not be understood this way. We are not called to inactivity, but to proactivity.
We are called to proactively remember who we are and who God is. We are called to proactively pray and confess the struggles of our heart. We are called to proactively worship God for his presence, wisdom, power, love and grace.
A side effect of bunkering down and surviving the storm is to isolate ourselves from others. In the midst of hardship, tell yourself that you have not been singled out. Remind yourself that you are part of a vast company of God’s people who have experienced, and are experiencing, the same.
At the same time, proactive living calls for us to find ways to serve and encourage others, even in the midst of our own hardship. It is more blessed to give than receive, and this remains true during good times and bad.
It’s counterintuitive to number your blessings when it seems that your life has been stripped of blessing. But there is no better way to resist the grumbling and complaining that often kidnaps us all during moments of difficulty.
Rather than merely “surviving” hardship and ending up exhausted and discouraged, you can live with excitement and gratitude. When you live thankfully, you will see life through new eyes - even when life is hard.
There is one other thing that hardship is meant to do: make us long for heaven. Perhaps more than anything else, hardship will remind you that you live “between the already and the not yet.”
There are many, many things for which to be thankful in this life, but this life is merely a temporary dwelling. Hardship of your present world should produce a God-honoring dissatisfaction and make you hungry to be with your Lord forever, where sin is no more and everything has been made completely new.
So as you live with God’s call to temporarily dwell in a fallen world with broken people, always remember that he is never separate from your confusion and weakness. Difficult situations, locations, and relationships are not outside of his plan, and he is with you as you walk through them.
Take hold of the grace that God makes generously available. Choose Jesus, not self. Choose fruitfulness, not futility. Rely on his powerful grace, not your own feeble strength.
Paul David Tripp
- How can you live proactively today, in your relationship with the Lord? What happens when you are inactive spiritually?
- How can you live socially today, both with the body of believers and with those who don't know the Lord? Why might you be tempted to isolate yourself today?
- What blessings can you count today that will inspire thankful living? Are you tempted to grumble and complain in any way?
- Are there certain temporary glories that you may be investing too much of yourself in? In what ways may you be attempting to turn this world into paradise?