The current economic downturn slowly erodes our economy. By now, we’re all feeling it. I know my husband, and I are.
Imagine checking your calendar only to see one job after another drop off in a matter of hours.
While getting ready for work, you hear a news report that the head of state closed every business like yours. Indefinitely.
During the last half hour of your shift, your manager takes you aside to let you know they’re shutting the doors because of government orders.
Your college notifies you that your classes are canceled effective immediately. You have 24 hours to vacate with all your belongings.
A friend scheduled for a critical medical procedure receives word it is postponed due to concerns about the current environment—no idea when this life-saving procedure can be performed.
You come home from work to see your husband slumped on the bed. In halting tones, he admits his pornography addiction has probably cost his job—immediate termination.
These are real situations. Each One rocks our sense of security and balance. It seems our world has lost its mind and sense of direction.
Who do we trust, or what do we hold on to?
Last night, as my husband and I processed additional difficult news, we cried together. Then, we turned to the only source of truth, peace, comfort, and steadfastness we know—Jesus Christ. We wrestled with making our minds and hearts agree with our understanding of a loving, good, just, and faithful God.
John 10:25-30, in The Message translation, says,
Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.” [emphasis mine]
The religious leaders and political pundits of Jesus’ day wanted him to declare himself the Messiah. They ridiculed and pressed him at every opportunity. According to their beliefs, the Messiah would come in like an invading army, overthrow the corrupt Roman government, and take over the country. Those in the know were sure they had it right.
They were wrong.
Jesus, the Messiah, came to save every person not from unstable or cruel government control, but eternal death due to our sin. The ones who thought they knew what was right and going to happen were entirely off base. Jesus came to give us more than comfort and carefree life on this earth. His life, sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection brings us peace and purpose today and the promise of eternal life with him. Yes, even amid global turmoil, Jesus provides peace.
When everything you’ve held onto gets stripped away, who is holding you? Or who do you trust?
Jesus said that no one could snatch us from his hand. No one is greater than God the Father, who put you and me under Jesus’ care and protection.
If you, like me, wonder what will happen next? Look to Jesus. He hasn’t let go of you. Are you holding onto Jesus, or have you let go in your fear, worry, and anxiety? I get it. But it’s time to look up and grab hold of the only security there is in life—Jesus Christ.
Here’s how you (and I) can hold on:
Look to Jesus.
He’s the only One I know who makes sense out of chaos. He didn’t promise to create an “easy street” life for us. He said that when troubles come to look to him because he conquered the world. Look to Jesus and hold on. I’m holding onto Jesus desperately. Who are you holding onto?
Pray until you reach peace.
Is this possible? Yes. As my husband and I poured out our fears, anxieties, confusion to God the Father, we leaned in to listen to what the Holy Spirit spoke to our hearts. We told Jesus everything we felt. We quoted Romans 8 back to God, pleading for the Holy Spirit to pray for us because we couldn’t articulate our thoughts.
Choose a different outlook.
You have a choice in every situation. Your circumstances may be handed to you—and they may be worse than you ever imagined—but you still have a choice. What we focus on gets our attention and emotional energy. Can you look at your current circumstances and ask yourself:
- How will I grow through this?
- What does this situation make possible?
- Has my over-packed schedule robbed me of more significant opportunities?
- Where can I help someone else?
- What relationships are hurting because you’ve been too preoccupied or busy to nurture them?
Take stock of your current situation, express gratitude for what you do have, and trust God to keep his word.
Now, take your next best step.
If your circumstances are not the result of anything you’ve done, accept them, and move on. If your situation feels like it was handed to you on a stinky platter by your husband, you can also find healthy ways to move on. What lessons can be learned during this situation?
Express your trust through adopting a new mindset.
I love what Dan Miller says, “There’s no such thing as failure. There are success and learning.” When you adopt this mindset, you free yourself to move forward. Fear of failure inhibits growth. Look at your children. How did they learn to eat, crawl, walk, and talk? They tried until they figured it out. And, you encouraged them after every failed attempt. What if, instead, we express thankfulness for what we’ve learned and then try again?
Judy Belmont echoes this in her article on lifehack.org, The Top 10 Habits of Grateful People . . . Even in Tough Times. She gives 10 tips, all related to gratitude. This One, “People who are grateful know that a grateful attitude takes work,” jumped out to me. How hard am I willing to work to accomplish my purpose? What about you?
When life is tough, gratitude means keeping a proper perspective. And, when you feel overwhelmed, it means getting help to process the negativity surrounding you.
Will you join me today to hold on well?
Hold on to the One who made you and this entire planet. Will you take a stand against the fear-mongering, and choose to find hope amid uncertainty? This current crisis is not the first one humanity has faced, nor will it be the last.
The words of this song and the power of all those voices in unity point me back to the only secure One, Jesus, who promised we’d never be snatched from His hands. Listen for a minute:
Choose gratitude today for the One who is trustworthy and will never let us go.
Then look to Jesus to bring clarity from your confusion, peace in your problems, and hope when you hurt. He knows, better than anyone, where you hurt, why you hurt, and the way out of the hurt. Hold on tightly. He’ll never let you go.
If you need to talk with someone about difficulties in your marriage, I can help. There is a way out of your pain. It’s your choice. I pray you choose to overcome and move forward.