by Lisa Leidenfrost
It is helpful, when you find everything to be confusing and you can’t make sense of your situation or God, to always go back to what you do know. Stand on things that are fact and can never change. These things will give you an anchor for interpreting the confusion around you.
What doesn’t change? –God’s character and His promises.
If His character doesn’t change and what He says doesn’t change, then He is the same God through good times and bad. If He is good, then even in the midst of a really hard trial, He remains good in it. If He says He will never forsake us, then even when all else says the contrary, you can know that you are not forsaken.
What are things that don’t change?
‟The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy (Ps. 103:8).”
‟…The goodness of God endures continually (Ps. 52:1).”
‟Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning, Great is Your faithfulness (Lam.3:22).”
‟God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Ps. 46:1).”
‟The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry (Ps. 34:15).”
‟The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit (Ps. 34:17, 18).”
‟I will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5b).”
Even if one big trial after another were to hit you in what I call a ‘pile up affect’, like happened to Job, God still remains good and compassionate and merciful. It may not seem like it at the time, but that is why you stand on what you know, and not on what you don’t know. In other words, don’t let circumstances define who God is. If you do this, you will have a very warped view of God that will alternate from loving to vengeful, back to loving again. God is who He says He is and we stand on that. Our job is to grow to learn how to view our circumstances in light of His story and view them from His vantage point and not ours.
Trials not only have a tendency to skew our view of God, but they also have a tendency to focus us in the present and keep us there, as if the present will never change. When that happens we can become engulfed in a hard chapter in our story, as if there were no further chapters to come. This can leave us depressed and hopeless. But God, even though He remains the same, is a God of change in that He keeps writing the story and it is moving toward a glorious end. We can get a glimpse of where He is going with the story by looking at His already set patterns in life. Summer follows winter. Day follows night, and there is resurrection after death. We can’t project our gloomy premonitions onto His story line with any accuracy. He will do what He does and it is all going toward His ultimate victory.
So, in the meantime, when you are in a hard spot and waiting for change, how do you manage? Instead of focusing on the trial at hand and becoming engulfed by it, you want to focus up and over the trial to something beyond that is so grand and glorious and strong that your trial fades in comparison. You want to focus and stand on a rock instead of the changeable nature of your trial. Focus on the victorious end and not the middle, on a strong and merciful God, and not a fallible human being –yourself.
God has been faithful in the past and He will be faithful in the future. He is the one thing that remains the same. God is a rock and a fortress and we can run to Him and be safe. Remember that God was particularly rough on Job and when Job legitimately asked why, God never answered Him directly. Rather, He got him to shift his focus up, out of the present suffering, to something grander.
He answered by saying essentially, ‟Look at who I am. Lose yourself in Me. Go ever deeper in learning about who I am and therein lies your answer. Since you are dealing with things beyond your understanding, when you look at me in belief and put your trust in me, you will somehow learn to know that it was and will always be alright.”
When you say, ‟I trust you,” getting a direct answer will no longer matter.
And finally, think on the end of the story.
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passes away (Rev. 21:3, 4).
We have a choice where to focus, and it makes all the difference to focus up and over the trial and onto God Himself. And if God has chosen to use your particular hard trial to bring Him glory, and further His kingdom, would you want it any other way? It is a privilege not all get.
 All Scripture taken from The New King James Version. (1982). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.