By Donna Bucher
Patiently listening, my heart ached as I heard the familiar refrain. A family member expressing the overwhelming feeling of being “lost.”
As a member of a hospice and palliative medicine clinical support personnel team, I receive many calls from the community looking for help or support for a loved one declining from a long-term illness.
Though my caller struggled with overwhelm as to how best to help their loved one, they desperately needed something common to us all: hope.
We live in troubled times, forcing us to process the hard emotions resulting from many stressors, including:
- tragedies of multiple mass shootings in public places
- COVID-19 cases rising again
- the ongoing war in Ukraine
- the baby formula shortage crisis
- the rising inflation in our country
Sitting with any one of these events can leave us feeling lost, anxious and, at times, hopeless.
When assimilating corporate hardship into our own personal suffering, our hearts may bow under the weight of deepened loss and grief.
Even if you abstain from the news, avoiding conversation about the troubled times in which we live is nearly impossible.
Yet, we feel ill-equipped to fully engage others in the arena of strong emotions while balancing our own grief, confusion, and fear of the future.We live in troubled times forcing us to process the hard emotions resulting from many stressors, but God is our hope.
Trusting God in Troubled Times
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you.” – 1 Peter 4:12 HCSB
Each day intensifies feelings of confusion as we wade through our days tinged with stressful encounters, strained relationships, and job and financial stresses. All point to a world spinning out of control.
As Christians, we know God has everything from the biggest world events to our personal struggles completely under His sovereign control.
Nothing happens in our world or home outside of His knowledge, protection, or plan for us.
Remember, in the middle of discouraging events, God’s complete sovereignty breathes peace into the turmoil of our souls.
From that place of quiet peace, we can begin to live out the hope we have within as a testimony of authentic faith to a world searching for true hope in troubled times (1 Pt 3:15).Nothing happens in our world or home outside of God’s knowledge, protection, or plan for us.
Authentic Faith in Troubled Times
“You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder. Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless?” – James 2:19-20 HCSB
Perhaps more than ever, Christians and non-Christians alike are seeking hope in the midst of uncertainty.
In a world where Christians “deconstruct” their faith, or forsake their faith altogether, people hunger for authentic faith.
Faith that is able to stand the test of time, pandemics, political upheaval, persecution, and personal loss.
Faith that not only talks about Jesus but lives like Jesus.
In troubled times, talk is cheap. Pain and suffering seek authentic connection, compassion and comfort.
Emotional responses and platitudes abound on social media, but little substance accompanies most declarations.
Hurting people need more than our heartfelt outrage at injustice or compassionate indignation in troubled times.
They need someone who will step into their pain and help facilitate real comfort and change (Jas 2:15-17).True faith not only talks about Jesus but lives like Jesus.
Empathetic Faith in Troubled Times
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” – Romans 12:15 HCSB
Authentic faith not only feels sorrow for those less fortunate, but it also enlarges its comfort zone to include the hurting, lost and lonely.
Sadly, a number of the lost and hurting people with whom I speak see Christians as more willing to debate whose theology is correct while exhibiting little or no change in their own lives.
Modeling an authentic relationship with God which has transformed your life has more impact than any theological debate.
This is what transforms everything we do: knowing and believing to our very core that our authenticity rests in Scripture alone as our highest authority, and that salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, for God’s glory alone.
Like the early church, our faith becomes more than something we proclaim, feel, debate, or believe. It is the driving force for all we do.
God proved His own love for us through His actions. While we remained in our sin, Christ died for our redemption (Rom 5:8).
In troubled times, living out authentic faith breathes hope into hard places, strengthens our brethren in Christ, and demonstrates God’s love to the hurting, lost and lonely.Like the early church, our faith becomes more than something we proclaim, feel, debate, or believe. It is the driving force for all we do.
Living Authentic Faith in Troubled Times
“Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23 HCSB
Sometimes we struggle to keep our heads above water in the negative sea of grim news, personal suffering, and endless needs all around us.
Desperately holding on to a faith that seems too small, we wonder how we will make it through our current crisis.
Yet even in this hard reality, where faith is purified, God uses authentic faith as a means of building His kingdom.
For the Christian, the admonition “The just shall live by his faith” (Hb 2:4) offers the practical approach for spiritual growth and influential outreach in times of trouble.
Faith receives authentication through trial. Through adversity, we deepen intimacy with Christ in ways not open to us during times of ease.
One way we live authentic faith in troubled times is by holding firm to our hope.
We demonstrate trust in God’s sovereign will by holding fast to our hope without fear of current or future events. Resting in the firm foundation built on Christ, we live by faith in the unfailing love of God which cannot be shaken.God uses authentic faith as a means of building His kingdom.
Encouraging Faith in Troubled Times
“And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works.” – Hebrews 10:24 HCSB
Another way we live authentic faith in troubled times is by encouraging one another.
The troubled times of this present world offer us unique opportunities for showing God’s love to others in tangible ways.
Instead of focusing solely on our own concerns, we live out authentic faith by enlarging our circle of influence and investing in the lives of others.
Seizing opportunities for building God’s kingdom, we live a visible Christianity as we build relationships and meet the needs of others.These troubled times offer us unique opportunities for showing God’s love to others in tangible ways.
Nurturing Community in Troubled Times
“Not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25 HCSB
A final way we live authentic faith in troubled times is by nurturing community.
Participating in corporate worship keeps our perspective on God’s goodness and faithfulness, especially while walking the hard paths of life.
Joining with brothers and sisters in Christ for worship, prayer, and time in the Word of God strengthens faith, demonstrates love for others, and infuses true hope into our lives.
As we nurture community in troubled times, we avoid becoming isolated in our faith while experiencing opportunities for encouraging both ourselves and others.
Authentic faith is a fire-tested faith marked by deeper intimacy with Christ, which displays the solid hope of God’s sustaining power through times of trial.
But even more than a sustaining hope, authentic faith testifies to an eternal hope. Our confidence rests not in this world, but in the world to come (Phil 3:20).
Living out authentic faith in troubled times portrays the Father’s love to the hurting, lost and lonely, gifting them with the hope they so desperately need.
– Donna Bucher
Donna Bucher is a women’s ministry leader, teacher, speaker, retired missionary, CASA volunteer, experienced counselor and hospice and palliative care support personnel. She is also the founder of Serenity in Suffering blog, where she shares articles, resources and counseling designed to help you grow personally and find spiritual intimacy with Christ. Follow Donna on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.