There are times in your life when everything you attempt to do will seem to go wrong. Your faith may be strong and your commitment deep, yet adversity will come knocking on your door. These are the times we need to “Hold Steady” and not waver.
The Apostle Paul experienced much hardship and trouble in his life. He even was a prisoner for many years. It amazes me his faith and “Hold Steady” attitude in spite of all that he went through.
2 Cor. 4:8 – 10 NLT
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
This passage of scripture tells us that we will experience trouble, but we won’t be crushed. It tells us that we will be perplexed (full of difficulty or confusion or bewilderment – Dictionary), but won’t fall into despair. We might be hunted down by the enemy but we will never be abandoned by God. We might get knocked down, but never will it destroy us. All this is for God’s glory and for Him to be seen in us!
We will experience trouble in our life. If we were a ship the trouble would be the storm and the wind and waves trying to get us off course and shipwreck us.
Steady As She Goes
Have you ever heard the phrase: “Steady as she goes?“ It is an instruction from the captain to the helmsman of a ship, to keep the ship heading steadily on the same course regardless of gusts of wind or cross-currents. Anything to be navigated, or guided by hand, is a “she” in vernacular. You don’t want to bump into anything, or tip over, and if you are standing in or on it, you want to keep it steady so you do not lose your balance. This is what God is saying to us: “Steady as she goes!” It is a reminder to “Hold Steady” in spite of our fears, concerns, or even the facts we face from day to day.
What brings turbulence in our life? Maybe it is unexpected news of a health issue? Maybe your turbulence is experiencing financial or relational hardship. Have you been rejected lately? Turbulence comes in all forms and it always does the same thing; It rocks our world.
What is your reaction when your world is rocked? Do you cry? Get angry? Lash out to those you love? Speak a bad report from your mouth? Give up? We need to learn how to “Hold Steady” in our response to any storm we may face. You might say, “It is easier said then done Pastor Kris!” I understand that reaction but God wants us to mature and be stable even when our world is rocking.
So what do we do in times of trouble? I have come up with a few tools that have helped me to Hold Steady and I pray they encourage and help you too.
How to Hold Steady in Times of Trouble
1. Cry out to God!
Too often our first reaction when a hardship comes is to doubt any good will come from it. We tend to try and figure it out on our own. if only our first response would be to take it to God. Crying out to God for help is the best thing we can do. He is the One Who has all the answers. We only see what is in front of us. God sees the whole picture.
Psalm 77 NKJV
“I cried out to God with my voice – To God with my voice; And He gave ear to me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.”
Open up your heart and receive the comfort of the Lord as you cry out to Him. He sees and hears you. He won’t turn a deaf ear to you. No, He will run to you and bring comfort even in the middle of the storm.
I learned how to cry out to God the hard way. It was through many mistakes I made in my life and I was left with walking through the consequences. I hated where I was at. But I found the secret place of prayer that I would cry out to the Lord all my emotions, all my concerns and fears. I would tell Him how I felt and ask Him to help me get out of the mess I was in. God never got me out of my mess, but He did make beauty from it. It is in the walking through of hardship that we learn how to really trust the Lord.
Are there things in your life that you are trying to avoid? Maybe your trouble doesn’t have to do with anybody but you. Why do we tend to walk around the Elephant in our living Room? We walk around issues in our life that have tripped us up for years. You know you have issues when you deflect things off of yourself and onto others. Have you ever done that? Someone, in love, is trying to confront you and you don’t want to deal with it so you deflect it and turn it back on them or someone else. Of course it is never your fault, right? But this only makes things worse. It prevents you from being free from bondage that has kept you captive for years. It is time to cry out to God and release all of it and allow God to set you free once and for all. Then you can actually see a bigger picture of other people who need what you have: FREEDOM!
2. Trust God.
Trusting in God use to take courage in my past. I never really saw how trustworthy God was until He was all I had left. To be truthful, God allows us to get down to nothing so He becomes our everything. Take the whole world, but give me Jesus! Take all my longings, but give me Jesus. Take all my hopes and desires but give me Jesus!
Trust Jesus, and you are saved. Trust self, and you are lost.
― Charles H. Spurgeon
This is truth! When we trust ourselves for anything, especially the trouble times we may be facing, we will be disappointed. We can lead ourselves down a wrong path thinking we are absolutely right when we are 100% wrong. Why would God put in His Word verse after verse about trusting and leaning not on our own understanding? It is because we will always go to that “default” when trying to figure something out. Our knowledge is limited, but God’s wisdom is never ending.
Trusting God is faith. It is faith in action. It is believing God is a god of His Word and that He will never fail. We have to have faith to believe in God. It is the same thing when it comes to trusting Him. Allow your faith to arise and find a place of trust with God.
Proverbs 3:5 – 6 Amp
“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.”
Trust is like a staff you can lean on as you journey uphill with God. If you are trusting in God consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed. Lean on, trust, and be confident in God with all your heart and mind. Don’t allow your reasoning to get in the way of God’s loving wisdom.
God asks us to trust Him even in deep darkness when He gives just enough light for the step you are on. Are you holding God’s hand? You should! That way you will never misstep. Learn how to trust God moment by moment. Don’t take your entire life at once. Just this moment, and then the next. Trying to imagine what will happen in a day, week, month, or year is futile. We know God will be there with us, but for today, we trust Him right now!
Be very present of God’s presence in your life. Stay in His presence. It is the best protection over self-pity and depression. God’s presence is Who He is. You can trust that!
Psalm 62:8 Amp
“Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”
Put your confidence in God and not your abilities, your circumstances, or even your relationships.
Psalm 61:2 NKJV
“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
When our hearts are overwhelmed we cry out to God and He will lead us to Him and help us in our trouble. There is no better plan then that.
Psalm 32:10 NLT
“Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.”
How many of you want love to surround you? Trust in the Lord and follow His ways. There is blessing in being obedient to God and His Word! Don’t be deceived and think you can do your own thing and still have God’s blessings. It doesn’t work that way. Disobedience brings curses, judgement, distraction, and death. It is not worth it. Trusting God means you obey His word and believe it. You believe Him. His heart is for you and not against you.
I have written extensively on trusting God in my book: “The Garbage Man Always Comes On Fridays” if you would like to do further study on this topic.
What comes to mind when you think of the word, “prayer?” I think for some, it might mean drudgery or a hassle. Others might think why do it, as it never works. Still others might be excited for the opportunity to spend time with God.
When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works!
It’s an honor to be able to speak to God. We don’t have to go through a priest or a saint or any other intermediary. We don’t have to follow any prescribed rituals. We don’t have to wait for an appointment. Anywhere, anytime, under any circumstances, we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.”
― Oswald Chambers
Prayer is our key to unlock God’s resources and blessing. Instead of fretting over our circumstances, prayer allows us to take action. We pray and bring all our concerns, all the good and the bad to the God Who has all the answers for all our needs.
Matt 11:28-30 The Message
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I love this paraphrase of these verses. It doesn’t matter where you are, or what you have done, you can come to God and get rest and recover from all that is going on in your life.
If I was to plug in a lamp in front of you and turn it on, it would light up the room. But if I had the lamp, and it wasn’t plugged into any power source, the lamp does not do what it was created to do: Shine! To me, prayer is my life-line, my constant connection with my power source. If we are not connected continually to God we will be weak and not work, and just like the lamp with no power, we will not function, nor will we shine for God’s glory.
We could spend much time on the subject of prayer, and in the future I will, but for now, realize it is an easy thing to pray and spend time with God. If you are down, prayer can help bring your focus where it should be: off your circumstances and onto a powerful God who loves you. He created the heavens, the planets, the universe, and He created you too! Connect to your power-source!
Praise is a weapon! It is a sustainer! Praising God in the midst of a storm can open doors and bring deliverance! Did you hear about the ten year old boy who was kidnapped this past week from his own driveway? He bent down to pick up some money and someone grabbed him and put him in the back seat of a car and took off. The boy started singing the song: Every Praise. His kidnapper told him to shut up and swore at him numerous times but Willie wouldn’t keep quiet, he kept on praising His God in the middle of his storm. For three hours his kidnapper drove around until finally he couldn’t take the praise any longer and opened the car door and threw him out and said to not tell anyone what happened. As of now they are still looking for his kidnapper. What a powerful story of how praise brought deliverance!
Song: Every Praise
Praise gets the attention off of our circumstance and onto our God! It seems such an opposite thing to do of praising instead of fretting, yet it is powerful. God always has a plan in the middle of our storm. Our faith, in the middle of the storm, is so important for our survival. We must believe God will rescue us and either change the situation, or change us.
Paul and Silas knew first hand what praise will do in times of trouble. They were on their way to the place of prayer and met a slave girl who was demon possessed and could foretell the future. She brought her owners much wealth by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and Silas shouting loudly, “These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation” For many days she followed and shouted this to the point Paul said to the evil spirit within her to come out in the name of Jesus Christ and the spirit left her. Her owners were very angry and dragged Paul and Silas before the authorities in the marketplace and accused them of being Jews and throwing the city into great confusion and that they encourage the practice of customs unlawful for Romans to observe. A large crowd joined the attack and the rulers tore Paul and Silas’ clothes and commanded that they be beaten with rods and thrown into the deepest part of the prison.
Acts 16:25 – 26 Amp
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”
Their praise and joy broke every chain off of them and set all the prisoners free! Amazing how praise is for God yet it benefits the participator to the point of deliverance! Do you see this? Praise opens doors, brings freedom, and what once held us captive no longer has a hold on us!
5. Embrace the trouble.
As with any woman who is pregnant with their first child, my body experienced many changes. I knew how my body was without being pregnant, frankly I enjoyed it. As I started to experience and see my body change, I grew to resent it. I felt like someone was taking over my body. I remember complaining to my mom about having morning sickness and feeling ill all the time. I would tell her my woes and she gently said to me, “Honey, allow your body to be pregnant and stop fighting it.” It really helped me to embrace all aspects of my pregnancy, where as before I would fight and complain about it. It made for a better pregnancy and I am sure my husband was relieved and benefitted from my new outlook too.
When we are starting to experience hardship don’t look at it as a bad thing. Change your perspective and see it differently.
Though your troubles may seem heavy and endless, they are actually light and momentary compared to the eternal Glory they are achieving for you! Trust God to open a door of hope in the middle of your trouble.
2 Cor. 4:17
“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
This is a timely word for any troubled heart. We will receive an eternal glory from any trouble we experience and that glory far outweighs any momentary trouble.
Sometimes God allows us to go through wilderness experiences to remove anything from our past that we are not to take with us. God calls us out of the world’s noise to commune with Him. Spiritual deserts become fertile soil for God’s work in the human spirit. Here is where God shapes, molds, and makes us. Often the desert or trouble is a place of solitude, suffering, and self-denial but it brings much growth. It is the pain required before true healing takes place.
Deep agape love can be developed only in the school of suffering. We need to get to the place that we are not afraid to suffer. Most people want to get to know Jesus in His resurrection, but it is in knowing Him in suffering that our flesh is overthrown! Suffering on the cross came before the resurrection. Without suffering there is no glory. As we experience trouble and turbulence we will experience our own forms of suffering body, soul, and spirit.
1 Peter 4:12 – 13 NKJV
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”
When God’s glory is revealed in you, that is the victory! When our flesh doesn’t win, we are victorious! I have said it before, but when our flesh wins, we lose. If your flesh screams, “I want out” and you obey it, the outcome of your actions will not ever be good. You might think you have won, but in reality you have lost so much in Jesus. We decrease so that He can increase in us. The more we do this, the more God can use us. It is hard for God to use rigid things, but very easy for God to use broken things.
Embrace the wilderness as a banqueting table, as a chamber where the Lord wants to speak with you. Embrace it with great faith and vigor. Embracing trouble is not getting what you want and still be okay with it. Can you still love God when He tells you, No? Can you worship Him in the middle of that NO? This is truly dying to self and loving God even if none of His blessings were promised to you. You might say, “Pastor Kris that seems so unfair!” Of course it is unfair. Who said life was fair anyhow? Probably someone who didn’t want to face himself and any issue that was keeping them in bondage. To be free you need to let go. Let go of your control. Let go of your will. Let go of what you want the outcome to be.
Let us be people who Hold Steady in the good times and the bad. Allow God to develop you into a ship that is steady and balanced in all seasons of life. Cry out to Him and trust that He will guide you moment by moment. Learn how to worship Him even when the answer He gives you is; NO! He is worthy!
From one “steady as she goes” vessel to another,