(from the Strengthen Your Walk Discipleship Course, Crossroads: Choices for a Better Life)
Trusting God is one of the best things we can do as believers. Wholeheartedly putting the full weight of our lives in the hands of the Lord to lead, guide, and direct us is an invitation God offers to us in His word.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT).
But trusting God doesn’t mean that you won’t face difficulty.
As a new teacher, a friend of mine named Lisa was working in a middle school in a large urban community. She’d been excited about finally fulfilling her career dream and being able to impact children’s lives in the classroom – and hopefully being able to share her faith along the way.
Early in the year, it appeared that all was going well until a new student joined her classroom. Regardless of what she tried, the new student was surly and disrespectful, uncooperative and disagreeable. On more than one occasion, he caused an uproar in the classroom. Weary and discouraged, my friend struggled with how to respond to this new student who challenged her authority and whose parents weren’t willing to be a part of the solution to resolving the misbehavior.
As the school year wore on, Lisa had lost her excitement about coming in each morning to teach her students. In fact, she’d begun to dread facing the challenges each day and had begun to doubt whether she really could make a difference in student’s lives. She wondered if she was truly up to the challenge of being a teacher.
It seemed the battle that had begun in the classroom with one rebellious student had revealed a host of insecurities she felt about herself and her commitment to the profession that she had chosen for her life.
In moments like these, self-doubt, self-pity, and fear can swell to huge proportions to overwhelm our faith. Lisa had to make a decision. Would she hold on to her passion to teach children and be an example of faith in their young lives, or would she allow discomfort and struggle to force her to abandon this important work? Would she be willing to trust God to guide her through the challenges or would she just give up?
Like Lisa, many of us face challenges on our jobs, in our businesses, or in raising our children that cause us to become discouraged about our ability to fulfill what seems to be a daunting task. The encouragement of Psalm 34 is written to strengthen us today:
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart (v.1-2).
When we face challenges, we can praise the Lord for the ability to share those difficulties with Him and then boast, remember, and declare that even when we feel helpless, the Lord is our help!
God is waiting for us to ask Him to partner with us in facing the challenges of life. The psalmist continues:
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (v. 6-8).
Not only will we experience the comfort of knowing that God is with us during our trouble, we are strengthened to know that He is listening to our prayers. He is both able and willing to respond on our behalf! There is nothing quite like the joy of experiencing God’s provision, direction, and protection as we trust him to walk with us through life’s challenging moments.
I’m pleased to say, that Lisa didn’t give up. She realized that all students are different with unique needs. She had been given an opportunity to grow as a teacher by trusting God to guide her each day as she led her students. Lisa discovered that she could choose how she would respond to the daily challenges she faced. Each time she chose to praise God, prayerfully trust Him, and allow His Word to be her guide, she experienced victory!
This article is a part of our Strengthen Your Walk Discipleship Course, Crossroads: Choices for a Better Life
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Dr. Ashley Harrell is a lover of words, books, people, but most of all a lover of story. She is a storyteller, teacher, scholar, leader, life coach, futurist, worshipper, curator, and scribe. She lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, with her husband Hilton. Learn more at woundstory.com.