We all want answers. Not just answers, but the right ones. And easy ones.
That’s not wrong, it’s just how we’re wired.
Searching for answers
You can see it when we go through struggles in our lives. We want to know how to react and make it better.
You can see it in marriage. We want to know how to get back to being happy-go-lucky as soon as possible. With as few words as possible.
You can see it at work when someone puts us in an uncomfortable position. We want to know how to get out from under the weight of other people’s opinions.
But what if we already have the answer? What if we’re wasting our time trying to find a different answer, one that won’t satisfy our heavy hearts?
I think maybe we are.
How to move forward
I think instead of asking for answers we should be doing 2 things:
- Realize that you are in a situation marked by suffering, and take heart.
- React by falling back on faith.
Take heart in your suffering
I’m sure the first didn’t make sense, so let me start there.
You’re thinking “we all know we’re suffering, so why do we need to acknowledge it?”
Because God tells us it’s actually good for us. Look at James chapter 1:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
And later in the chapter,
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
See, suffering and trials in our lives mold us ever closer to the shape of Christ. He was sent here to suffer for us. Any time we experience suffering we should take heart that we are experiencing something of Christ.
No one ever said that having faith will always be easy or happy. In fact, here’s what Jesus had to say about trouble in John chapter 16:
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
We will suffer. He was very clear about that. Let’s not kid ourselves by thinking this world is not a sick place. There are wars, hunger, strife, widows, and orphans. But each of these is suffering alongside Jesus. And that should encourage us.
Fall back on faith
The second reaction, falling back on faith, is important because God designed us to react in this way.
Let me give an example to illustrate. My wife and I, along with some others couples, were giving advice to an engaged couple about what to expect in marriage. They asked a question to the effect of, “We want to know what to do in those times where your marriage feels stressed and you’re having a disagreement.”
There was some great advice given, but as I was listening to others relay their experiences and suggestions it became so clear to me what the answer really was. And, as I told them, it’s always remembering what you have in common – faith.
(Now, I realize this couple already had faith in their lives. But this can apply to one person in a couple as well, if the other is not a believer.)
What I said was that in those times where it feels like everything is falling apart, the only thing we can fall back on is our faith. It is the one constant. God will not let us down like our fallible spouses. God will always be there. God will always know what we’re thinking.
Marriage wasn’t meant to exist apart from God. Suffering wasn’t meant to exist without the comfort of faith.
And it’s that knowledge that should give us the encouragement we need to keep going. To work through what is causing the suffering and the hurt.
So next time you just want to know what to do, take a step back and think about the 2 steps:
- Realize you’re suffering and take heart, and
- Fall back on your faith.
What are some strategies you use to cope with struggles in your life?
I would love you to share in the comments. Thanks for reading.
*Reader’s note: if the faith mentioned above is something you want to know more about, please check out Mecklenburg Community Church this weekend and start learning about the God that grounds us in faith. Click here for service times and locations. (There’s also an internet campus you can watch to explore it from the comfort of your home.)