Faith is never more tested than in difficult times. In the midst of hard circumstances, we may find ourselves asking where God is or what he is going to do about what we are experiencing. Often there are more questions than answers. What do we do when times are tough and the solution does not come right away?
First, connect. Connect with the person and power of God through the reading of his word and through prayer. At first, it may be a few verses and a handful of whispered sentences a day. Do not let the simplicity of the act hold you back from experiencing the complexity of God’s presence. Jesus illustrated the difference between show and substance in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18. The Pharisee had the résumé, but the tax collector got the result. Come as you are to the Father. Connect with him.
Second, contend. The Bible tells us that hardship is a guaranteed reality in this life (John 16:33). In addition, the enemy is constantly prowling around looking for an opportunity to do damage (1 Peter 5:8). By first connecting with God, you will be better equipped to contend against the enemy. Hardship usually does not fly solo. Often along for the ride are temptation, bitterness, anger, resentment and fear. The enemy seeks a means by which he can rattle you or worse. The book of Jude, likely written by Jesus’ younger brother, speaks of how to contend for our faith against the enemy’s schemes. He says the presence of opposition is not surprising. In fact, it was predicted thousands of years ago. In response, we should seek to build our faith and pray while waiting on the Lord’s mercy. In the final words of the book, Jude reminds us that the Lord is able to keep us from stumbling.
Finally, consign. Consign means to turn over to someone else’s charge, to assign or commit to a special purpose. To consign something or someone to Christ means relinquishing your stake in the matter. Submitting your circumstance, burden, heartbreak or worry to the Lord is an act of consignment. It is both a singular event and an ongoing process. By trusting Jesus with your situation, then continuing to trust him each day, the door opens for him to do more than you can imagine. We may not understand all that is happening around us, but we have complete assurance that God does.
Chris Machen wrote the song Bow The Knee about walking through a hard season. He says:
Bow the knee.
Trust the heart of your Father
When the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee.
Lift your eyes toward heaven
And believe the One who holds eternity.
When you don’t understand
The purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King,
Bow the knee.
Connect, contend and consign.