There seems to be a lot of suffering in my world lately. Not so much me personally, though there is that for sure, but everywhere around me I am very aware of suffering. Today a woman dear to my entire hometown died, I talked with a friend struggling though a very difficult family situation, I prayed for someone who prays over and over that their atheist family members trust Jesus with no answer yet. I see it and you do, too; suffering is all around us.
So, what do we do when life is hard? What do we do when we read the promises of God and our experiences don't match up? This is where many of us are. We read one thing and experience another.
So, what do we do? Do we abandon the faith? I say certainly not. But what do we do when trusting is difficult?
Currently I'm reading through the book of Psalms again. I love the psalms because they force me to wrestle with the questions above and they provide answers. I'll provide a few answers to what we do when trusting is difficult, these answers come from some of the psalms I've read recently.
1) We take our complaints directly to God.
This is one of the best things about Christianity. Our God will not smite us for our struggles to believe. God wants us to bear our hearts to Him when life is good and bad, hard and smooth.
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent." Psalm 22:1-2
We can complain right to God when we feel abandoned, even Jesus prayed this psalm.
2) We persist in our prayers to God.
Don't ever give up hope. Too many times we give up hope in hard times. When you're having a difficult time trusting that is the last time to stop praying.
"Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.
Look upon my affliction and distress
and take away all my sins." Psalm 25:16-18
Keep on asking God for help even when the troubles of your heart seem to multiply rather than vanish.
3) We preach to our own soul.
Sometimes when we we're having a difficult time trusting we know the right answer but are having a hard time believing it. Like, we know God is good but we aren't experiencing it currently so we struggle to trust that. There are times when you need to preach to yourself. To preach means to proclaim or herald something, so proclaim the truth to yourself when trusting is difficult. Proclaim something like this:
"Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.
How priceless is your unfailing love!" Psalm 36:5-7a
"We wait in hope for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust His holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD,
even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:20-22
Christians will have times when trusting is difficult, but we must hold on. We must continue to trust even in the face of death, disease and disfunction. We have to hold on to the promises of God, but that doesn't mean that we can't feel the pain of the experience. So, if you're having a difficult time trusting take your complaints directly to God, persist in your prayers to God and preach to your own soul today.