Earlier in my faith walk, I would constantly face rushes of hopelessness that engulfed my soul and very being. Depressed. Sad. Depleted.
During those storm trials I would be desperate for relief and try frantically to “pull a rabbit out of my hat” and make it “go away.”
It was sheer nonsense, to be sure, but that was my world at the time. I was trying to play God within the world’s rules and parameters and it all failed miserably. Each setback compounded to create ever more hopelessness which made me feel more and more alone. Unfortunately, that moved me even farther from turning the problem over to God and believing he could bless and transform my life.
OF COURSE IT’S TOUGH!
It’s one tough job to avoid the strong pull to be negative and feel isolated when we encounter life’s trials. Believe me, I know that being defeatist when tribulation comes makes us feel alone and afraid. I spent many years in that painful predicament.
Thankfully, I learned from God that feeling isolated is a predictable part of God’s plan to show us in the most intimate way possible that he is there and still in control. That he is not going anywhere without us. That we will prevail.
God uses isolation to test our character, capacity to love, and our faith. He uses it to show us that the adversity in our life is there to strengthen us so we can emerge with our faith and our wits attached.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. . . . So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 18
God wants us to wait for his refining work and look for his perspective even while we are in the throes of affliction. He wants us to trust his divine timing and not get discouraged while we’re in the waiting period. The best approach to stop discouragement during the wait is to pray. But as logical as that sounds, many believers seem to respond in exactly the opposite way. That is, the bigger the trouble, the less we seem to pray.
Why do we settle for less than what our heart really desires? Why do we minimize God?
No matter what happens in our circumstances, God wants us to fight off our loneliness by continually stretching our perspective beyond the trials of our lives. He always gives us another angle, another way to approach our circumstances.
Even if our emotions tell us this different approach is wrong, we must give it a go and stop trying to pull a rabbit out of our hat.
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17