What Do We Do When Trouble Comes?-Part 1
|By: Nancy Missler; ©2001|
|Nancy Missler says there are several things we need to do when trouble comes into our lives. We’ll look at three of them this month: stand still (and let God work in us); rest in His promises; and stop asking “Why?”|
The way we respond to the difficult times in our life determines our whole spiritual walk. Whether we advance, withdraw or simply stay where we are (which is actually impossible) will determine our degree of experiential union with God. The more passive and peaceful we remain during our night season, the quicker we will advance toward God.
This is why it’s critical that we endure, as patiently as we can, all that God allows into our lives. Some of us will never advance beyond this stage, because we will grow impatient and seek a means by which we can escape. This is detrimental to our walk! Rather, we must cooperate fully with God by bearing all that He allows.
We must stand still, rest in His promises, stop asking why, cease doubting, cease fighting, guard against discouragement, stop blaming others, and, finally, put on the whole armor of God and begin to praise Him. Let’s explore each of these suggested steps in detail.
One of the first things we must do in our crisis is to stand still. We must not move. We must stop all activity and cease striving.
Remember Isaiah 50:10-11:
- Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.
So often in our night seasons, because we get impatient for God to “do” something, we begin to “light our own fires.” We try to find our own way out of the trial. And that’s when the trouble really begins. When we resist what God is doing and begin to work on our own way out, that’s when we find ourselves in an even bigger mess. The more we resist what God is doing by searching out our own ways, the more agony we will cause ourselves, the sharper our suffering becomes, and the longer we will prolong our trial.
We must stand still and wait for God to part the waters. We must stay quiet before God and keep walking in the direction in which we were going when our troubles first began. Nothing has changed between God and us except, perhaps, our perception of that relationship.
This kind of standing still is not sheer passivity, which so many of the mystics tell us is essential. What we are doing here is really the most active thing we can possibly do. We are choosing, by faith, to constantly remain quiet and cooperate with God, and this takes an enormous effort on our part. Our natural inclination is to shove, fight, push, scream and yell. Standing still and yielding our members to God is the opposite of what we want to do emotionally and, thus, requires a constant and an active faith on our part.
One of the ways we can most effectively stand still and surrender ourselves to God is to take every thought captive, confess and repent of it, give it to God and, then, replace it with the truth of the Word.
Going through these steps every time we are confronted with a hurtful remark, painful situation, pride, fear, doubt, insecurity or whatever “is not of faith,” is the only way we can stay open and cleansed vessels so God can continue to form Christ in us and implement intimacy with Him.
Keeping a journal of all that God does will help keep us accountable. By writing down all that we “feel” and dealing with it, sin and self will not be able to accumulate. In other words, we won’t be able to go on to the issues of tomorrow if we haven’t first “dealt with” all the issues of today. This will help us “keep very short lists.”
- …Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God… and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” (Romans 6:11-13)
Rest and Hope in His Promises
At this point, it’s very important to get our eyes off the “monster,” and simply rest and hope in God’s promises.
The way we lay hold of His promises is by making faith choices and knowing that He will align our feelings with our choices in His timing and way. Other practical things we can do are: Cry out to Him; quote Scriptures out loud to Him (“You said here…”); and then, listen for His answers in His Word. All we can ask is that He keep His promises.
We must not move out of the Spirit to do our own works. Struggling or becoming agitated just makes everything worse. God has not changed, even though He seems to have covered Himself in darkness.
We must remain pliable, be attentive to God, with no “self-effort” on our part at all. Wait in peace and patience and faithfulness until God shows us what to do. Endure without complaint. If we simply trust and believe in the Name of Jesus and His Word, He promises to “make darkness light before [us]” and “crooked things straight.” (Isaiah 42:16)
God will not lift the trial until He has completed the work in us that He knows must be done. Since He is the One who put us in this fire to begin with, He must be the One to take us out. There is nothing we can do to speed things up, except to stand still, rest and hope in His promises. He will get us out of the fire in His timing and in His way. We simply must trust Him and let Him act.
Stop Asking Why
It’s also imperative during this time, to stop asking “why?” Stop constantly examining yourself and thinking, “If only I had done this… or that.” Submit yourself to the confusion. Accept what is happening. Stay still for His Spirit to resolve it for you. Love God without the need to see or understand why.
Remember who God is and what He has done for you in the past. Remember His character. Remember your reason cannot help you comprehend God. It’s only by Love that we can reach Him, not by our understanding. So, by faith, we must choose to love Him and to totally give ourselves over to Him, without sight or feelings.
What we must try to understand is not what God is doing, but what God expects from us. The only way we can overcome our natural senses is by allowing Him to do all He needs to do while we are in the dark. As we focus all our attention on Christ in the darkness, our soulish life supply will eventually be cut off, and our own natural thoughts and emotions will become powerless.
Whenever a self-reflective thought comes, instantly reject it. Don’t give way to imagination or reflection. Try to keep clearness of mind and purity of heart at all times. Don’t allow negative thoughts to go unchecked to the point where you again dwell on them. Recognize these kinds of negative thoughts, and immediately choose to give them to God. Then get up and, by faith, do as God asks. Everything we dwell upon (other than God) during this time will become an obstacle to our experiential union with Him. If our mind is cluttered with other things, there will be no room for God.
Expect to get tired of the unrelenting struggle and battle. However, as we persevere we’ll begin to have the encouragement we need. As we silently “abide” in the darkness, we will begin to see and experience God changing our motivations and healing our lives. Thus, the confidence that He is still working and that He still loves us, will return.
Peace comes only when we accept what we cannot understand and are no longer troubled by it. Peace comes when we leave everything up to God.
(continued next month)