Remaining Faithful NO MATTER WHAT

 

Dealing with trials is part of life.  We can’t outrun or outsmart them.  We can’t even be a “good enough” Christian to avoid them.  What we can do is remain faithful to God…no matter how hard the road before us, no matter how uncertain things seem or how painful it becomes.

Easy?  Hardly.  Heck, we oftentimes blame God in the first place!

When everything is going right in our life, it’s easy to stay faithful.  But what happens when everything is going wrong?  Or the worse thing we could ever imagine happens?  What if our greatest fears come to pass?  Or a difficult season stretches on for weeks, months or even years?

I almost always think about Job of the Old Testament.  He lost everything that mattered to him.  It’s one thing to have empty pockets and a broken body…but to have all of your children die?  Even the loss of just one I cannot imagine.  And so, I have to ask myself, would I be able to remain faithful if I were in Job’s shoes?  I would like to be able to say yes, that I would…however, I really don’t know.

I know it’s not the Sunday School answer.  But it’s my honest answer.

I’ve been mad at God plenty of times.  Even if I haven’t blamed Him for circumstances, I’ve been sure to remind Him of the power He has to change them.  I might have lost my way and my faith may have been teetering on the edge, but I never fully turned my back on God.  The good news is that even I had, He would welcome me back with open arms.

Deep down inside we know He is the answer to our trials.  And even if He chose not to do anything about what we’re going through, He is the one who will carry us through.

Life is full of unfair events, tragic loss and disappointments.  We have little control over much of what happens.  But we can determine there is no better place to run to, than His arms of comfort.

After all…

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

Psalm 139:7-12 (NIV)

 

You might also like:  The Biggest Mistakes Made When Someone Is in a Trial

The Biggest Mistakes Made When Someone Is in a Trial

Going through some personal trials in my own life, I’ve learned what not to do when someone else is suffering.  Although people generally have good intentions, oftentimes they become more of a hindrance than a help to the healing process.  While I certainly don’t have all the answers on how to help someone, I’ve come to an understanding about some of the biggest mistakes we can make.

Mistake #1 – Pretending to understand someone else’s trial

If you have not personally experienced what someone is going through, it’s a disservice to pretend to understand.  It’s okay to say that you can’t relate to their pain.  There is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know what to say or do for that person.

When my close friend’s husband died in a tragic workplace accident, there was no way I could help her in the grieving process by pretending to understand what she was going through.  I had no words for her…and that’s exactly what I would tell her.  My presence, my listening ear, my care and concern were all she needed.  She wasn’t looking for someone to say, “I understand.”  She was looking for someone to just be there.

If we haven’t experienced what someone else has gone through, it doesn’t disqualify us from helping.  It’s always better to admit we’re at a loss as to how to help rather than pretending to understand their pain.

Mistake #2 – Comparing your pain to their pain

Sometimes we have experienced a similar type of trial, which in many ways can be very comforting to the other person.  But in the midst of their pain, don’t compare what it was like for you to what they’re experiencing.

During the more than a yearlong process of seeking custody and going through the legal system for my granddaughter, I had a friend who was constantly telling me about her own experiences with custody more than 20 years ago.   Her intentions were good, I know that.  But it eventually made me stop sharing with her.

When someone is hurting, it’s hard for them to see past it.  It’s not that we shouldn’t share our insight or experiences, but we have to be careful that the focus doesn’t become about our pain instead of their pain.

Mistake #3 – Diminishing what someone else is going through

Sometimes we unintentionally (or perhaps even intentionally) diminish the other person’s trial.  What is tragic for one person might not be to another.  But that doesn’t make it any less important.

While losing a pet might not compare to losing a spouse, it is still a loss nonetheless.  A demotion might not be as bad as getting laid off…but it’s still discouraging.  A parent who is upset about their child getting caught smoking maybe doesn’t compare to a child hooked on drugs…yet it’s still a disappointment.

Just because it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you or it’s not as big of a trial as what you have gone through, doesn’t mean the person is any less deserving of encouragement and support.  Don’t diminish what someone else is going through…they’re pain is just as real.

 

How to Deal with Trials in Life

Let’s face it…not a single one of us receives immunity from difficulties in life.  They come at us in all ways and at all times.  Some trials last a moment while others feel like a lifetime.  Some we see coming and others hit us quite unexpectedly.

 

So how does a person of faith deal with these trials?  How do we stand strong in Christ when everything is falling apart?

 

Coming out of my own particularly difficult season of life has been a huge learning experience.  I nearly lost my way in the midst of uncertainty, pain and heartache.  Yet it was in this place that God showed Himself in ways I had never experienced.

 

I learned that when He felt the furthest, He was actually the closest.  When He seemed silent, He was speaking the loudest.  Everything I thought I knew about God would be shattered…because He is so much more than we think or imagine.

 

My hope is that through this series of posts, you will be challenged to look at your trials in another light.  To see them as an opportunity to discover things about God you couldn’t learn any other way.  For the next 7 Mondays, I will share some of my personal experiences and the lessons learned through them.

 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you (I Peter 5:10, ESV)