Jesus told his followers that unavoidable trials aren’t aberrations; they are expectations. They can actually serve a beneficial purpose. Why? Because God can redeem, use, or work through the undeserved, unavoidable, circumstantial trials in our lives. But in order for that to happen, we have to believe and persevere.
What do you do when life hasn’t gone in the direction you hoped or wanted it to go and there’s nothing you can do to change your circumstances? What do you do when you’re living in “the meantime”? If you’ve ever been In the meantime or if you’re currently in the meantime, you can’t help but conclude you’ll never be happy again, nothing good can come from your circumstances, and there’s no point in continuing. Can it really be true that God will make things right?
What do you do when there’s nothing you can do? Relationally, financially, professionally, physically, or academically, It just is what it is. There’s nothing you can do to change your situation. Challenging circumstances can make you jealous or resentful. They can make you angry with God. They can breed discontentment. But the problem with discontentment is that it can drive you in self-destructive directions that will eventually leave you with regret. So, what is the secret of finding contentment even when times are tough?
Every once in a while, we run into people stuck in unchangeable, unalterable, in-the-meantime circumstances who get to the place where they’re able and willing to receive their circumstances, their afflictions, their illnesses, their losses, and their disabilities as coming from the hand of their heavenly Father. How do these people maintain extraordinary faith despite extraordinarily difficult circumstances? Where do they find the peace that characterizes their lives?
What do we do when our circumstances are so challenging there’s no way forward and no way out? We have problems for which there seem to be no solutions. We have questions without answers. During times like these, we’re tempted to run or give up. We’re tempted to give in to jealousy, resentment, and anger . . . especially anger toward God. That’s because when life gets hard, it feels like God is absent, apathetic, or angry. But what if he isn’t? Is it possible to hang on to joy, hope, and patience in the meantime?