And often, what happens is unexpected.
Those of you who know me personally know that God has given me an easy smile and a bubbly personality. 😉 I love to be happy and to brighten the days of the people around me!
That is why I remember being so disheartened when, as I went through an unexpected and painful trial, I realized that it was the very first time in my life that I could only feel sad. The smile in my eyes dimmed for a time, and my normal, peppy self became quiet and pensive. Anyone who has experienced grief and sorrow knows what it feels like to not be able to be happy, even when you want to.
I was not in despair. God gave me comfort and hope. He carried me through each day with the promises of His love, His perfect ways, and His goodness.
Maybe you are going through a trial that took your breath away. You feel like the rug has been yanked out from under your feet, and you’re still in shock, wondering what happened to your life that was normal just a few minutes before.
HOW do we prepare for victory instead of despair in moments like these? How do we deal with the unexpected?
1). Invest in the bank.
Store up a wealth of knowledge about God! Be hungry to learn all you can, and beg our Jesus everyday to reveal Himself to you in new ways. Constantly be depositing nuggets of truth from your Bible reading and from church sermons into “the bank” of what you know about God.
But the desire for God does not come naturally. Ask God to give you a burning passion to learn of Him and to love Him more. And watch Him answer your prayers in supernatural ways. When heartache breaks into your beautiful life, you will be able to cash in on what you know about God from your bank.
Here are just a couple of very practical tips for you.
- Listen to sermons online while you do housework or while you’re driving. Drawing on the knowledge of godly preachers is SUCH a great way to fill your week up with truth! A few that I recommend are Pastor Ron Perry (Faith Baptist Church of Folsom, CA. You can locate him on sermon.net), Pastor Dan Sweatt (Berean Baptist Church of Liburn, GA. You can locate him on sermonaudio.com), Evangelist Will Galkin (also on sermonaudio.com), Jeremy Frazor (sermonaudio.com), and my own Pastor Jacob Langdon (fellowshipbaptistonline.org). Feel free to message me on Facebook, Instagram, or in the comments below for more recommendations. I am blessed to know many wonderful preachers!
- Don’t JUST read during your time with God. Bring a notebook and a pen with you. Expect God to teach you. He will not be silent in your hour of need. Come to Him with a heart ready to be filled, and you will not go away empty. Highlight or underline verses that God uses to speak to you and write down what you think they mean in your notebook. I have mentioned this method before, but I always try to ask myself two questions while I’m spending time with Jesus:
What did I learn? Now, how should I live?
- Surround yourself with people who love Jesus, too. I know many of you likely work secular jobs, or you work at home and the only people you spend time with all day are your littles. But find some way to spend time with friends who love God and have the same desire to know God as you do. If you have to call them in order to do that, go for it! Set up a group chat with a few of them and send verses to each other every morning. Ask someone to be your accountability partner and set up a regular time to discuss what God has been teaching you. Godly friends are a blessing. Don’t be too proud to ask for their help and prayers.
2). Devise a plan.
I mean it. Write down how God wants you to respond when the unexpected, the disappointing, or even the tragic occurs. What will you go back to? What or who will you choose to believe? I came up with my plan almost a full year before I experienced my first real heartache. But before that, I remember using it for when I was disappointed, caught off-guard by someone’s decision, or just after a really bad day. And really, all you’re doing is writing down how you know God wants you to respond: in a Christlike, godly, biblical way. You’re plan may look different from mine, but I will share what I have written in hopes that it may be a helpful springboard for you.
Whether my hardship is having a bad day, enduring constant nagging irritations, or a experiencing an unexpected heartbreak, I will:
- Go to God’s Word. Always. When I don’t know what to do or how to respond. When I’m at my wit’s end, I will go to God’s Word. Only there can I find the truth I need to make sense of my situation.
- Speak the truth out loud to myself. Write it down. Post it in a prominent place in my home. If I simply read, I am only using one of my senses. The truth will sink in deeper if I use more, like speaking so I can hear it and using my hands to write it down. The more ways to reaffirm God’s truth in my life, the better!
- Pray for God’s grace, strength, and courage. Every day! And expect Him to fulfill His promises to me.
- Choose to believe His promises and choose to trust His heart, even when I don’t understand what His hands are doing.
Psalm 56:9 “…God is for me.”
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength: a very present help in time of trouble.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, who are the called, according to His purpose.”
Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
II Corinthians 4: 17 (15-18) “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
Fundamental truths that I choose to believe:
- God loves me more than I can ever understand.
- God is there for me, and He understands.
- God does nothing that is not for my good and His glory.
- God’s way is perfect, so I can trust Him.
- This trial will not last forever, but the glorious rewards from walking with Jesus through it will!
Here is one more beautiful verse that I must leave with you. Hope placed in God’s Word is never disappointed.
Psalm 119:114 “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.”
Whether you are experiencing an earth-shattering, unexpected trial right now or preparing for one, God’s truth is for you! I pray that you will soak it up and let it refresh you.