Steps of Faith

FACING ADVERSITY GOD’S WAY

John 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

 What if my faith isn’t as strong as I think?

I was pleased with the progress in my spiritual journey. Now I’m not saying I’m perfect (far from it), but I’m certainly a kinder gentler soul than I used to be. But in the back of my mind that scary thought kept creeping to the front—what if my faith isn’t as strong as I think?

After all, life was good for me. I’d accomplished a lifelong dream of becoming a traditionally published author, had a godly husband to share life with, had a job that not only gave us extra spending money but one I enjoyed.

It’s easy to have faith when life is good.

I kept pushing that thought to the back telling myself not to be negative or a worry wart. In hindsight I wonder if it wasn’t God whispering for me to get ready—the ride was about to get bumpy.

And it did!

Not to dwell on all the bad things, but just to show you I’m not exaggerating about the adversity thing.

It started on Christmas Day with my stepson having another schizophrenic episode that required four hospitalizations in less than three months. During this same time period, I was told the school district I worked for was eliminating my position and that my husband would need triple by-pass surgery.

That was enough to test my faith, don’t you think?

But it wasn’t over. On April 1, I developed Bell’s Palsy and from that the doctors discovered two brain tumors (benign) that would require Gamma Knife treatment over the next year and a half (at least) and monitoring for the rest of my life since it’s probably part of a genetic condition.

How’s that for some adversity?

Life has its hills and valleys, we all know that. Life can be tough whether we are “good” Christians or not. Unfortunately, when life isn’t going our way we might start to question our faith—maybe we aren’t good enough—maybe God doesn’t love us anymore—maybe God is mad at us—maybe…maybe…maybe.

The questions can go on and on, and if we aren’t careful our faith can get shaky and weak—just what the devil wants!

I’m all for a healthy dose of self-examination or even a little complaining and whining to God about our circumstances, but somewhere along the way our faith needs to kick in and take over.

Here are ten steps that I’m finding helpful as I face tough times:

1.     Read & Study the Bible.

2.     Believe in God’s love for you.

3.     Accept God’s sovereignty.

4.     Expect trouble.

5.     Pray.

6.     Don’t get stuck in the valley.

7.     Praise God.

8.     Guard your thoughts, words, and actions.

9.     Keep an attitude of gratitude.

10.    Focus on others.

 Let’s think of ourselves as a tree for a moment and our crisis as a windstorm of epic proportions.  During a storm, the trees that survive are the trees with the best root system.  The stronger the roots, the less likely the tree is to topple during the storm.

As Christians, we want to develop roots that will keep us grounded and standing during whatever comes our way.

The first four steps will help develop the roots you will keep standing upright through any storm. They prepare us to face our problems . Whether you’ve been a Christian for a short time or a long time, these steps will make those roots grow stronger. But not to worry. It’s never too late to start.

We want our tree to have strong roots, but we should want more than that . As a tree we don’t want to just survive, we want to flourish. The last five steps will help us flourish no matter what the circumstances.

The fifth step—PRAY—belongs in the before, during, and after of the adversity.

Which step is most important?  I have no idea. It’s probably different for each person and each circumstance, but together these steps will lead to victory. But each of us must make those steps for ourselves.

And as with any journey, it must be made one step at a time.

~*~*~

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net.  She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com 

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