By and large, many of us are going through various challenges. Stress levels are rising unusually and that, from unique quarters. With a pandemic well in its second year, enough grounds have been shaken; families, careers, friendships, businesses, academics and many more. In addition, a staggering 1 out of 4 persons who seek healthcare in Kenya have a mental health condition. Every challenge we face in life affects our mental and spiritual wellness.
So why is it important for us to know how to exist during these times? Because the adversary of our souls works perfectly in deception as we are forewarned in 1 Peter 5:8-9. If the adversary manages to win the battle in your mind, then he has conquered you. Therefore, to gain perspective, we must shift our focus from the lies of the prevailing situations and look up to Christ for renewal.
Consider God’s Sovereignty
Psalm 115:3, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
One of the difficult doctrines is God’s sovereignty; he is in charge of everything that happens in the entire wide world. Yet, as humans, we want to feel like we are in charge of all the events surrounding us. In Psalm 139:1-2, we are reminded that God knows us. The whole chapter is about how amazingly God has laid out our lives and is deliberate in seeing that he keeps the end of the bargain- provide!
When times get rough and our minds are overwhelmed, we need to remember that God, in His sovereignty, has our future in his hands. He says in Isaiah 41:10 that he will strengthen and uphold us with His mighty right hand. So you see, worry is a price we pay for things we will never enjoy. So instead of plunging into a desperate state, focus on desiring to know your God, who is sovereign and can flip situations in the twinkling of an eye.
Remember God’s Faithfulness
The great old hymn says, ‘Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; there is no shadow of turning with thee!’. These are words penned in the book of James 1:17, and they are an anchor for the saint and the sinner alike. The saint who trusts in this truth- that God is eternally faithful, shall find rest for the battered soul in this life and eternal hope in the life to come. For the sinner, this truth is an anchor against the hopelessness of their bondage in sin; that though it may look bleak and wasted, God can turn the vilest offender into the humblest believer if they turn to Him in faith. He is faithful to save the wicked and bring them new life.
But God is faithful to sustain you in these trying times as well. I know often, we feel as if we are all alone, especially when we keep looking at the magnitude of our trials and not the provisions of our God- He will make rivers in the deserts (Isaiah 43:19). If he parted the red sea, brought water from the rock, gave Abraham a child at old age, raised the dead, healed the sick, defeated the demons and came back out of the grave, trust deeper that He will equally come through in this time.
Understand you are not others
Once when Jesus was giving His last words to the disciples, Peter felt he needed to know what would happen to his fellow disciple, John (John 21:15-25). Peter was concerned about things he needed not to worry about- someone else’s mandate. Had already fulfilled his? Was he a little jealous and desirous of having more than what he was assigned? Was he feeling left out, though he had received his charge? Jesus tells him, in short, to mind his responsibility and let others run their race.
You are not your friends. You are not what others say you are. You are not what others suggest to you. All of us are independently woven by God because He has a unique role for us to play in this world for his glory and grace. The moment we realize our unique roles, we shall overcome the danger and deception of comparing ourselves with others (2 Cor. 10:12). Living in the freedom of our identity in Christ should be among our most desired goals.
Live one day at a time
An old hymn, One day at a time, by Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson serves us with wisdom here;
“One day at a time, sweet Jesus/ That’s all I’m asking from you.
Just give me the strength/ To do every day what I have to do.
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus/ And tomorrow may never be mine.
Lord help me today, show me the way One day at a time.“
Jesus, in Matthew 6:34, tells us to focus on today because tomorrow has its fair share of troubles to give. Therefore, we should surrender to God when we can and stop trying to figure out what tomorrow may hold. It does not mean that we do not plan for it; rather, we should lay down all these plans to God so that we can see the little good things he had set in store for us. Today’s contentment is a good reservoir for tomorrow’s battles. So, as tomorrow comes, let us find joy in living today.
What is your current pain? Keep calm. Things may not work out for you as desire, and this can throw you off balance. However, do not throw in the towel yet. Keep calm!