When we're doing well right before everything falls apart, or when our stress level reaches the ceiling - those are the times when it can be difficult to continue to trust in our Father's goodness and perfect plan. In a conversation with GRC staff member, Lisa, she shared a few words of wisdom from her own experience on how to cling to our faith in the middle of tough times when we may feel like letting go.
1. Remember your “stones of remembrance” (past instances where the Father proved faithful when the situation looked bleak). In The Word, the Psalmist David repeatedly talks about remembering the Creator’s works in the middle of the most stressful and trying times and how remembering His faithfulness can bring comfort in those times. Sometimes in dark or stressful times it can be difficult to remember all the things the Father has done in the past. One way to help us remember would be to start writing down those times where He showed up in a mighty way. By creating a Journal of Remembrance it can help us remember His faithfulness even when the situation looks bleak. If you are already struggling, often friends and family can be a great resource to help us to remember His past faithfulness as well.
2. Make a decision to trust and cling to Him in spite of the circumstances, and in the middle of the mess. In the middle of stress and mess it can be difficult to trust that our Father has a plan which is still on track in spite of any event that seems unexpected to us. There are no surprises to our Creator. No mess is too messy and no situation unexpected when it comes to Him. In the middle of tough times we always have a choice - we can choose to be overwhelmed by the worry and fear surrounding our circumstances and isolate ourselves or we can allow our fear and worry to drive us to cling harder to our Father. Sometimes we choose to trust Him one moment but forget to continue choosing to trust Him the next moment. Write down reminders to trust and turn to Him in the midst of the mess and worry and place those reminders where you will see them around the house or apartment. Ask a close friend or family member that you talk with regularly to help you remember that decision to trust and turn to Him in the middle of the mess.
3. Remember you do not have to have all the answers. When hard things happen, we can feel the need to have answers for ourselves and others on why those things had to happen or what the Father’s plan is that would involve those circumstances. However, we do not need to know His plan in order to trust that He has a plan. It is not our job to have all the answers, even while our minds may try to insist on knowing or those around us may pressure us to know the answers to why or how a loving Father could allow such a thing to happen. In these times it can be helpful to remember what is our job and what is His job. Having that boundary and distinction can help relieve us of some of the stress we (and others) place on ourselves to have all the answers.
4. Remember who the Creator is. In the midst of difficult circumstances we may not feel like we can see all the same attributes of our Father that we usually see (e.g. His love, His faithfulness, etc.). Take some time to study His attributes. In the middle of a constantly changing world, He is the One who never changes. We may see different attributes highlighted in each circumstance we face, but He is still the same in the midst of it all. Take time to think on Him if you can, watch a sunrise or sunset, observe all that He has created. The same One who created all things is still in charge in the midst of every difficult circumstance.
5. Know that your experience will help others later. You may not be ready to hear this or want to hear this - and that is okay. Our difficult times often mould us into the best human helpers for someone else down the road - often shaping us even more than the “happy” or easy times. Not only do tough times shape us, but they allow us to choose to shine more brightly for Him. If a light is on in the daylight only a few people will notice, but when everything is dark and a light is on people flock to the light and observe the light more closely. So also when times are hard or dark and we shine as Believers we may have more people wondering why or how we are shining in the midst of the difficult times. When we continue to choose to trust, to choose to live in His strength, and continue to walk faithfully in the middle of tough times we can give strength and hope to the next Believer to walk down the same tough path and spark curiosity in those around us who observe how we walk on a daily basis.