Don’t Panic!—Trust the Lord!
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Christians aren’t immune to difficulties—family problems, fears, uncertainty, too much to do, financial needs, and so much more. It’s not that having faith keeps us from facing difficulties, but we know the Lord, and we can avail ourselves of His promises, test them, and prove them. This knowledge—that my faith is a help to me in times of trouble—gives me conviction to put my faith into action and dedicate my life to serving others and helping them to find His love and answers, too.
So what are some things that help me during difficult times?
First, the knowledge I have that character is often forged in adversity. The ABCs of spiritual growth: Adversity Builds Character. It’s part of life; it’s one of God’s laws. All those who have done great things for God and mankind have experienced difficulties and obstacles, and have been challenged by all manner of hurdles. In fighting to overcome, they have become strong. As all of us have experienced, it isn’t pleasant to go through adversity, but I know that once I’ve gotten through it, I have gained wisdom, patience, understanding, experience, and I’ve become better equipped for the future.
When I reflect on the advantages of adversity, I know that it’s not just a wasted period of meaningless pain. Think of the example of Joseph, only one of the many millions in history whose character and potential were formed in the furnace. Someone put it this way: “If Joseph had not been Egypt’s prisoner, he would have never been Egypt’s governor. The iron chains around his feet ushered in the golden chains around his neck.”1
There is an African proverb that says, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” Another thing I do which helps me to carry on is to pray for faith. There are scriptural examples of praying for faith—and I know God always answers the hungry heart: “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
And in another instance, “[They] said unto the Lord, Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Something else I do is review past experiences of how Jesus has never failed me, which is always a faith booster, because there are so many of them. There is never one in which He didn’t bring me out of the storm into a peaceful place in His time. I know that no matter how bleak the circumstances, God is able to do miracles. He’s not limited by circumstances. Another thing that helps me a lot: I do all I can to believe that things will get better. I try to look beyond the present difficult circumstances because I know that pleases the Lord. I know if I have faith that He’s going to work things out and He’s going to bring me through and He’s going to make things better, then He will, because He honors me for having that trust in Him.
So that’s what helps me when my head is barely above water and I’m about ready to panic because I feel like I’m going to drown!
When I incorporate these faith-building principles and practices into my daily walk—even if it’s thought action or prayer action—they activate my faith and it goes from being theoretical faith to living faith.—Maria Fontaine
Great faith is not the faith that walks always in the light and knows no darkness, but the faith that perseveres in spite of God’s seeming silences, and that faith will most certainly and surely get its reward.—Father Andrew (1869–1946)
Sometimes the situation in front of you seems impossible. You may be out of resources. You may be out of options or hope.
The truth is, most of us have no idea how to navigate impossible situations.
But we can learn how to overcome tough situations by looking at the life of Daniel.
In Daniel 2, King Nebuchadnezzar had gone to his astrologers with a desperate need for them to interpret a dream. When they couldn’t do it, he planned to execute them. Then he sent someone to get Daniel. Daniel didn’t panic. Instead, he worshiped God.
That’s a great model for how we can respond to impossible situations in our ministries. It’s not natural. You’ll have plenty of other people in your church who will recommend all kinds of other actions when your church faces the impossible.
But worshiping God in the middle of the impossible is the best response.
Worship is much more than just music. There are thousands of ways to worship. Anytime you turn your attention to God, that’s worship. When you express your love to God, that’s worship. You don’t have to be in church to worship.
When you worship God, you move your focus off of your problem and onto God.
The Bible says of Daniel, “That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven.” The passage shows you how to worship God in the midst of a crisis (Daniel 2:19–23). Specifically, Daniel did three things:
- He praised God for who he is.
- He honored God for what he does.
- He thanked God for his help.
That’s worship. Do that and you’ll move the focus off of you and your problems and put it on God.
And he’s always where our focus should be.— Pastors.com
Some years ago, when our children were small, my husband and I were on a freighter sailing from Europe to our new field of service in South America. Due to long delays in the loading of the ship’s cargo, we found ourselves setting sail in the dead of the Mediterranean winter, close to the time of year when the apostle Paul was shipwrecked off the coast of Malta (Acts chapter 27; 28:1). We prayed that our fate would not be the same as his.
Two days out of port, we were caught in a storm. Even though our ship was heavily laden and lying deep in the water, the Force 12 gales caused it to reel violently. The children thought it was great fun, but the rest of us struggled to keep our composure. Even the seasoned crew members were seasick.
We heard radio reports that a couple of other ships had already sunk. Would this be our end? If so, I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. There was nothing I could do physically to change the situation, but I could pray. And so I prayed like I had never prayed before! “Jesus, please help us!” I implored. “You’re our only hope! Calm the sea! Give our captain the wisdom, faith, and courage he needs to get us through this.”
“Go to the bridge.” I recognized that voice in my mind immediately. It was Jesus. “The captain is also praying. Pray with him and encourage his faith.”
When I stood up, Jesus gave me the strength to make my way to the bridge. The captain was alone there, and yes, he was also praying desperately. We held vigil together until we passed below Sicily, where we found refuge from the storm. The ship and its contents had sustained some damage, but no one had been hurt. Our prayers had been answered.
The Lord reminded me of this experience after some recent difficulties, and He showed me an important lesson from it: Face the storms of life unafraid. Climb up on top of the situation. Get up there on the bridge, and take firm hold of the Captain’s hand. Jesus is our pilot, and together we will soon be in safer waters. It takes faith to pray and gumption to act on those prayers, but faith coupled with action gets results.
It’s human nature to resist difficulty, to hide from it and hope it goes away, but that’s not the way of victors. Don’t take the storms of life lying down. Get up and fight! The battles of life may sometimes seem overwhelming, but the victory is yours, waiting right around the corner, and it is worth fighting for!—Anne Spring
Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven.—Psalm 107:28–30
I am good—a refuge in times of trouble. I care for those who trust in Me. Even though you inhabit a world full of trouble, I assure you that I am completely, 100 percent good! I am Light, and in Me there is no darkness at all. Seek in Me the perfection you have longed for all your life.
Because of the brokenness of this world, you always need a refuge—but especially in times of trouble. When you are hurting, I yearn to shelter you in My powerful, loving Presence. So, turn to Me in tough times, and you will find Me faithful.
Many of My children fail to receive My help during difficult times because they don’t really trust Me. When adversity strikes, they either lash out angrily at Me or become so focused on their problems that they forget I am with them. An essential element of trusting Me is remembering My promise to be with you always. Trust in Me, My child, and I will take care of you.—Jesus2
Published on Anchor November 2023. Read by Lenore Welsh. Music by John Listen.
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