Our lives are a series of easy times followed by tougher ones. For me, the challenge is realising God's hand in these times before I go mad with stress.
When we face challenging times, I expect many of us feel trapped—we believe we are unable to progress with our routine lives until the issues are sorted. While this is sometimes the case, I consider overcoming the stresses through a trusting faith in God and his plan for us is the most valuable asset and should be put to use in order to provide true freedom.
Waiting upon the Lord
Often when we are waiting for a bit of breathing space in tougher times we begin to struggle against the brick walls we are contained in.
At the end of Matthew chapter 6, we are instructed: 'Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own'. Sometimes I feel this passage is obvious, but it is also one we often overlook.
I can't help thinking of all the times I feel stress and focus on what I can't control in the physical world. I forget to concentrate on seeking help from above, where God is in complete control.
The real test for us is how long does it take before we begin to creep back into our old habits of worrying about what we can't control?
I humbly remind myself of the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the desert waiting to be taken to the Promised Land. I certainly hope I don't have to wait 40 years for a reprieve to come around! But then again, this is what we are called to do.
Our life should have the focus of doing the Lord's will, in the hope of a greater reward and life after the current one, which most would expect to last more than 40 years.
Therefore, it is important to build into your daily life the humble reliance upon God and his plans for us so that we do not become fazed by difficult trials.
A time for everything
In Ecclesiastes chapter 3, the well-known verse: 'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven' is a favourite reminder to be optimistic about the outcome of my hardships.
For many, Ecclesiastes would be a dooming passage; making everything in life appear pointless, however, as Christians it takes the exact opposite form—it reveals a purpose within us.
So, since there is a time for everything, we should note that we do have both good and bad times: the trick is to see God's purpose for us in these times before we become anxious.
And what is God's purpose for us in sufferings? It is written 'but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope" (Romans chapter 5, verse 3–4). It is God's will that we are continuously being transformed into the likeness of Jesus.
Once you can establish the premise of the trials and their rewarding purpose, you are able to come to the realisation that we have been placed in a win-win situation. If we have a reprieve, then it makes it easy to relax, but if we are in a tougher time then we can have confidence in God's plan for us, and his overwatch.
We should always remember God is watching out for us, providing the very best of care, and this should give us confidence in him. The timing of troubles should not concern us as much as our attitude towards them.
Tim Robertson is from Sydney, and likes to write about recent learnings in the hope that other people may also benefit from them.
Tim Robertson's previous articles may be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-robertson.html