We are living in days of discord and upset. This troubled world has, in virtually every aspect, made our lives troubled lives. Uncertainty has touched all of us. Domestic politics, economic hardship, international relationships, wars and rumors of war, and a constant fear of loss of everything we have worked for and once thought was secure heaps emotional baggage on our shoulders and affects our outlook of our world and our lives. Our quality of life has been down-graded and degraded.
All this has an effect on our Christian walk, as well. Our changed attitude toward daily life in turn affects those with whom we come in contact. Non-believers may well wonder why they would want to become a Christian when we look troubled ourselves and act poorly during times of trouble and believers may have their faith shaken seeing someone they (once) considered to be stable and mature in their faith.
Let us consider, as Christians, how hardship changes our attitude and outlook on life and on our relationship with God when emotional baggage is strapped to our backs. Perhaps the following can help avert troubled lives.
We might begin questioning our faith. I have often asked myself whether it is easier to have faith in good times or in bad times and have never come up with a concrete answer. But I know this: It is easier to have faith in good times but a stronger faith results from the hard times. Commit to grabbing onto Jesus and never let go. There are plenty of people and things around you that will be tempting you to turn from God, but don’t do it. Grab on and hold on for the duration.
We might begin doubting God’s plan for our life. Sometimes it is hard to know if we are on the path that God has set out for us and now it seems that maybe we took a wrong fork in the road. But does it make sense that God set us on a path of plenty only to take them away from us? No. God doesn’t work that way. We are not pieces on a chess board. He has promised to always be with us and we need to remember that promise (Matt 28:20). We can become a vehicle of his glory in our world by showing that even in adversity we trust him and believe him and will not let anything draw us from him. Remember: we follow the better way and even if we do not know the details of the plan that God has set out for us, it is better than any plan that man or committee or government can prepare.
We might doubt God’s omnipotence. Go outside tonight and look at the stars – really look at them as if it was the first time blind eyes have ever seen. The Milky Way, the moon, the stars, the vastness of the universe, are all a testament to his power and his presence. Our God created the universe and all it contains and he has not lost one bit of his power. Our God started it all spinning and keeps it all from falling apart; he has not gone to sleep or taken a celestial train ride to the end of the universe and back. He lives outside time, has always been and will always be. He is the “I Am.” (Ex. 3:14)
We might begin to listen to our fears and anxieties before listening to God. As Christians we are to place every issue into the hand of God because we, quite frankly, do not have the big picture and we do not have the power to alter our course for anything longer than about a minute. I know I have had many fears and anxieties. When I wake up and see that I am bowing to anxieties, I begin to pray and I end up giving it all to God. I put the situation or problem in his hands and I know it will be taken care of. Jesus told us not to be anxious for the future – the future will take care of itself. Trust in God who knows the number of hairs on your head and knows when a sparrow falls to the earth. (Matt. 6:25, Matt. 10:28-32)
What about Our Attitudes and Mannerisms?
Don’t walk around with a long face and a depressed attitude. Having a “Pollyanna” (“everything’s going to be wonderful, no matter how many bullets I have to take”) attitude is not being realistic about our situation. We can be realistic and empathize with others while radiating confidence that God still has us in his hand and cares for us. We want to convey to non-believers that Christianity is the answer to hopelessness and anxiety.
Don’t grumble about having to cut back on our lifestyle or standard of living. God had just lead the Israelites out of bondage and almost immediately they started talking about how good the had it in Egypt. (Exo. 16:2-3) Grumbling not only shows disrespect toward God and his provision, but also a basic lack of trust. We are implying that he either isn’t aware of our situation, that he isn’t taking care of us, or that he won’t do anything about it. How can we justify this attitude toward the one who gives us every breathe we breathe?
Don’t stop witnessing to others about Jesus and the blessing God gives us. If we are doubting God’s role in our life or grumbling about our situation, wouldn’t you think that it naturally follows that we would stop witnessing? After all, if we don’t hang onto the promises of God during the hard times, when we need them most – what’s the use of hanging onto them at all? If you have the gift of witnessing to the unsaved about Jesus, don’t stop. Repeating the promises, the plans, and the desires that God has for his children on earth will bolster your own faith and this may just be the ticket to help you out of the anxiety you may be feeling.
May God bless you in every way, every day. Thank you for reading.