Staying Faithful... Even When It's Hard
What does faith look like when you’re in the middle of a difficult season? Does it look like keeping a smile on your face and acting like everything is ok? Does it exclude wrestling with God? Can we argue with God; can we be angry with God; can we doubt His love?
Some will enter this Christmas season with heavy hearts and not really feel like being “merry and bright.” Maybe it’s because of a loss we suffered and the Christmas season is a reminder of another year without that person. Maybe it’s because we’re right in the middle of a difficult time in our life due to a job loss, a relationship problem, health problem or something else.
Thirty years ago this Christmas I lost someone close to me in a tragic death. I’ll spare you the details, but Christmas is a reminder of that loss. After thirty years, the deep pain of that loss has subsided, but the memory of the loss has not. This year my wife lost her mom. This will be her first Christmas without her, and her mom loved Christmas. What are we to do when we’re in a season of celebrating our Savior’s birth, but we’re aching from a loss or dealing with a difficult phase of life?
My only answer to that and what helps me is to remain faithful and take it day by day is God isn’t happy for our suffering, but He can use it. Evil and suffering are in this world because of sin; not because God has forgotten us or abandoned us.
Here are three things to consider if you’re hurting this holiday season.
God loves you! Psalm 136 says “His love endures forever” 26 times – in all 26 verses. God’s love for us doesn’t change or diminish in our suffering.
It’s ok to pray your doubts, your anger, and your pain to God. In Psalm 142, David says, “I cry out to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before Him my complaint; before Him I tell my trouble.” David was a man after God’s own heart. He experienced suffering, fear, pain, guilt, shame, but he always took it to God. God honored that and He listened. David was not condemned because he went to God with doubts.
God can mold us through suffering. Sometimes suffering brings us to our knees and eventually closer to God. Sometimes God can use our suffering for the good of others. I’ve personally found times where my empathy and my ability to relate and support someone through their suffering was stronger because of the suffering I personally experienced. We have a Savior who experienced suffering and temptation just as we do and yet he did not sin or turn from God. He remained faithful to the Cross because he loves us!
No matter what you might be struggling with this Christmas season, I pray you are able to experience the joy of knowing that our Savior gave up everything, he suffered and died for us and he rose again to prove that death and sin have no power over those who believe in Him.
Remember God’s love.
Pray your honest feelings to God (He wants you to).
Consider how God is going to use whatever you are going through to mold you and bring you closer to Him. Take it day by day and remain faithful in the little things.