How To Rely On Your Faith In Hard Times
by Zach Barber
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” said Charles Dickens in his novel A Tale of Two Cities. I feel there is no better summary of life than this quote. We wake up with breath in our lungs, feeling the warm rushing water of a shower, and making a fresh pot of coffee to get ready for the day. Relying on our faith comes easy. Then before you take that first sip, you get interrupted with a phone call informing you that a beloved friend has passed away. That same
bright day has just turned into a dark nightmare. Suddenly, relying on your faith becomes next to impossible. Let’s take a closer look at how to rely on your faith in hard times.
A normal human question that we have all probably asked at least once is “If God is good, then why do bad things happen?” Anytime I’m asked or pondered this question, my mind always goes to 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” For those of us who call ourselves sons and daughters of God, there is this giant target on our back that Satan is aiming for because we are a threat to his mission.
Therefore, the harsh reality is that we are going to face hard times in our walk of life. The question is, what do we do when we face these trials? The next verse says that we are to “Resist him, steadfast in the faith”. To truly resist Satan, we need to hold fast to our faith. To do this effectively, we first need to know what faith is.
Perspective & Faith
The best definition of faith we see in the Bible is Hebrews 11: 1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Romans 8:24 clarifies that “hope that is seen is not hope”. So when we hope for something, we put our hope in something we have not seen yet. Therefore, faith is putting our hope in something we don’t see. When we are faced with hard times then, we need to shift our focus off the current situation, and fix our eyes on the hope we have in Jesus, eternal life.
This change in perspective does not mean that we ignore the situation. If we do that, we are not solving anything. Rather, we are suppressing emotions and feelings and storing them for later. When we continue to do this over time, these feelings then boil over in an uncontrollable outburst of emotion that detracts from the witness of God, which is what Satan wants.
Rather, when we shift our perspective, we are remembering our eternal destination and the overwhelming joy that we will experience once we get there. This eternal perspective gives us hope, which can then translate into the courage to face this trial head on. It will not be easy, but with an eternal perspective, we realize this earthly pain is not only temporary but is nothing compared to the immeasurable joy we will feel once we get to Heaven.
Practices That Feed Faith
Practicing faith is easier said than done. I do not know where you are at in your walk with God, but whether or not faith is your spiritual strength, there are things you can do that can help build your faith when trials come.
The first one I would recommend is reading in the word, specifically stories of people facing and overcoming trials. Read the story of a young shepherd named David who slayed a giant with a single stone. Also the story of Paul and Silas who were thrown in jail, but because of their faith, were singing and praying to God despite their circumstance, when all of a sudden the prison doors were open and the chains were loosened. No better motivation can come from reading these stories and seeing God’s faithfulness.
The second practice I recommend is praying and asking God for faith. During hard times, praying can be the last thing you want to do, but it is essential. Jesus says in Matthew 7 that if we ask it shall be given to you. If you struggle with faith, why not ask Him for a strong faith? His answer might not be what you want or not what you expect, but if you don’t ask at all, nothing will be given.
The third practice is to try to keep a thankfulness journal. Write down what you are thankful for, and when a trial comes, go back to it and be strengthened by God’s past faithfulness, knowing He will be faithful again.
Lastly, I go back to 1 Peter 5 where in verse 7 the author says for us to cast all our care on God, because He cares for us. Let anything that has or is weighing you down rest on God. Write it down and bring it to Him in prayer, knowing that He will hear and take it from you.
It is vital to know and embrace that leaning on your faith, especially during hard times, requires community. Here at Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Asheville, we highly value community because we see how fundamental it is to the Christian life. If you do not belong to a faith family, a small group, or a close group of friends, relying on Jesus can feel too tall of an order. But when there are others who are able to come alongside you, lift you up, carry some of the burdens, and carry you when you are too weak, we are able to keep putting one step in front of the other.
A YWAM DTS (Discipleship Training School) is a perfect atmosphere to build community, understand what Christ-centered support systems look like, and experience just how life-giving a healthy community can be! The only YWAM DTS requirements are the completion of high school (or GED), and a heart that is ready to say yes to all the Lord has! The best YWAM DTS locations are the ones you feel called to in prayer, so don’t choose a DTS location just because it’s the cheapest YWAM DTS. Make sure it’s where the Lord is calling you!
I want to conclude by saying that during trials should not be the only time we are clinging to our faith. If we are in a season where everything in life is good, and we relax and rely on ourselves, when a trial comes it will be much harder to cling to our faith because we have loosened our grip. Hold on tight to your faith, especially on the mountain tops. Then, when a storm comes, we will be ready.