Life is tough, not by God’s design nor doing, but because we live in a broken world. Yet, God’s grace, favor, power, and provisions are sufficient to enable us to overcome tough times through our faith in Him. In fact, it just takes a little faith correctly placed in the expanse of God to provide us a sense of peace and assurance that nothing can topple.
Now the question you may be asking is, “But how? My circumstances seem so huge and my faith so tiny.”
Here are some things that are working for me…
1) Trust in the power of faith.
When we are met with the reality of tough circumstances, it’s easy for us to go into “I need to do something” mode. No doubt, there may be actions that are required of us to move forward through tough times, but always first from a foundation of faith.
Unfortunately, we don’t often respond to adversity from a foundation of faith, but from a foundation of doing. Think about all the “steps” you have been taught on what you need to “do” to get past tough times. Steps that are often directed at doing something about your circumstances.
The deepest question God has for you regarding your circumstances is, “What are you going to believe about them?” Satan’s question for you regarding your circumstances is, “What are you going to do about them?” Why? Because “doing” doesn’t please God and can actually block His work in your circumstances. Faith, however, pleases God and releases Him to work on your behalf in the face of your circumstances.
Have you ever noticed, the more you try to overcome your circumstances, the more you become entrenched in them. You become stressed, worried, panicked and restless. Yet, the more you believe beyond your circumstances, the more you overcome them, all while carrying a sense of peace, assurance, and calm. Faith takes you to a place of overcoming through your tough times that your doing could never take you. Our natural impulses tell us, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” But God teaches, “when the going gets tough, the tough rest in belief.”
2) Look past what you see.
Faith means we don’t look to our circumstances (however real they are) for our sense of what our reality truly is. In essence, we walk by faith and not by sight. It’s not about denying an existing reality, but focusing on a deeper, truer, more important heavenly reality. The facts don’t always tell us the truth. Could the facts be that you have just been betrayed by your spouse and your marriage is in jeopardy? Could the facts be that you have developed diabetes? Could the facts be that you are in a difficult financial situation that seems impossible to get beyond? Yes, yes, and yes. But that is not the truth about you, your present, nor your future.
For the truth, we must set our eyes on the truth of who we are, and what are heavenly reality is. In fact, the Bible says, “As He (Jesus) is, so are we in this world” Our earthly reality is defined by our heavenly reality, not merely by what we can see. The facts are overshadowed by the truth. As Jesus is in heaven, we are in this world, even when everything we see says it isn’t so. This world is not your home, nor the reality of who you are.
The facts may be… you are divorced and lonely, or in dead end job that you hate, or struggling with an addiction, or dealing with a past of failure, guilt and shame, or suffering from a health problem.
But the truth is… in Christ (as a believer), you are perfectly loved and lovable, adored by your Heavenly father, and capable and worthy of healthy relationships. You lack no blessing in your life, with so much to give and offer to make a difference in this world. You are secure, whole, and complete in Him. In Christ, there is nothing wrong or lacking with you. You are His son (or daughter). You are positioned at the right hand of God seated with Christ. Every addiction, temptation, and struggle is below your feet. In Christ, there is no more condemnation over your life, no punishment, guilt, or shame. You are a new creation, the old is gone, the new is in. It is no longer your nature to sin, and sin no longer defines you nor your future. Your body is completely healthy and whole, with strength and vitality. As He is, so are you in this world!
In fact, as you place your faith in the truth about who you are in Christ and your reality in Him, it becomes a part of the facts of your life. Through faith, addictions are overcome, relationships restored and new ones discovered, lives riddled with guilt and shame are given freedom, sickness and diseases are healed, insecurities rendered powerless, and on and on and on! Praise Jesus!
Belief (not doing) is the currency of heaven, it’s how your reality there becomes a reality here. All your striving, doing, and performing ironically do nothing but steal, kill and destroy your peace, rest, and provisions as they take the focus off of Jesus and place it on you.
3) Focus on Jesus
Satan uses tough times to distract our eyes off Jesus, who we are in Him, and what we have in Him. Satan wants us on a roller coaster of doing, instead of a steady course of believing. When you know you are perfectly loved by Jesus and the truth of who you are and your standing with Christ, Satan is disarmed. When you are spinning your wheels trying to muscle your way through your challenges, Satan is empowered.
Satan loves to use legitimate worries to sow seeds of unrest in your life. Why? because to rest is to believe. To rest in His grace, control, work, and purpose for your life are hallmarks of faith.
In Psalm 23, God invites us to sit at a table in the presence of our enemies. Imagine that, in the face of your toughest times, Jesus has the nerve to say, “Come, sit down.” “What do you mean, sit down? Don’t you see what is going on? Sitting down is the last thing I need to be doing!”
What Jesus knows is that if we don’t sit down in faith at the table and focus on Jesus instead of our circumstances, we will be overcome. His invitation is for our protection. The realty is, in tough times, there is much less to do, but everything to believe. The table Jesus sets is filled with things to believe in… His nature, His character, His Grace, His work, His power, His forgiveness.
Focus on Jesus, He is your deepest, most true reality. No matter what the facts are in your life, that’s the Truth! As you rest in Him, He will show you what to do or not to do.
You need only, believe!