Finding Stability in Unsettled Circumstances

February 6, 2023

Finding Stability in Unsettled Circumstances

The tasks were endless. After living in the same house for quite a number of years, my husband and I decided to renovate and sell it. Walls needed fresh paint, floors needed replacing, and the list went on. Over the next year, life seemed very unsettled. Projects took longer than anticipated, and our house was a mess as we worked. Tools and supplies were everywhere. Decorations and some of the furniture were stored away, as were a few other things that should not have been. Since we were trying to be “weekend warriors” because we both had jobs, progress was slow and sometimes discouraging. Planning for the future was difficult, as we didn’t know how long the renovations would take or when we would move on to our next home. It felt like we were living in limbo.

There are many situations in life that can cause us to feel unsettled. Changes in society around us, prolonged sickness, job loss, or the death of a loved one can make it hard to plan or even hope for the future. It may be difficult to get through a day. However, when we put our trust in Jesus, He can give us strength for each moment as well as hope for the future. Psalm 31:24 encourages us: “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” While we go through these types of challenges, there are a few things we can do to keep our hearts and minds focused in the right direction.

Remember who is in control

When life is uncertain, anxiety can creep in. I grew up singing a song that says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.” That simple message is important for us to remember! The “whole world” includes every detail of our lives. God has a plan for us, and that plan does not include fear or anxiety. Philippians 4:6 encourages us to “be careful [full of care] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” God doesn’t want us to be anxious. He wants us to look to Him for our needs and trust Him. If we are faithfully following Him, we can ask for His guidance and be confident that He will take us through whatever situations we face, all the way to Heaven.

By the time my husband and I completed the projects on our house and sold it, the housing market became extremely competitive for buyers. We moved into a temporary space while we looked for another home, which took several months. During that time, it was easy to feel anxious, but God was in control of the whole situation. He had a plan, and in His time, things worked out in a wonderful way.

Bless, don’t blame

The Bible tells of Job, who went through unimaginable pain, difficulty, and heartache. He lost his wealth and all his children in quick succession, and then shortly after, he developed one of the most agonizing of physical ailments: boils from head to toe. Life as he knew it came to an abrupt halt, and even his wife urged him to curse God and die. Yet, his response was that he “arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped” (Job 1:20). In his affliction Job said, “Blessed be the name of the LORD.” He did not blame God; he worshipped and blessed Him. He trusted God and His purposes. What a challenge to us!

When we face difficulties, whether we literally go to our knees as Job did, or humbly bow our heads, we can acknowledge God’s sovereignty and lift our hearts in worship to Him. We don’t want to be so focused on our circumstances that we become bogged down with self-pity or bitterness. Rather, we want to trust His plan and His love for us. Whatever happens, in the good and difficult times, He deserves our praise, thanks, and worship.

It might take a real effort to have a thankful attitude during a trial, but in Philippians 4:8 Paul gave helpful instructions for keeping our thoughts in check: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” When we choose to think on good things, we will find it easier to have a thankful heart that wants to bless God.

Maintain a connection

When a person is overwhelmed with uncertainty, it can be difficult to function, impossible to focus, and challenging to pray. However, it is vital in those times to maintain close communication with the One who is our Comfort and Help. That relationship is our most important asset in life and we don’t want to neglect it. God knows our limitations and He will always meet us more than half-way if we will just make the effort to reach out to Him. It’s important to continue to seek Him, not only for His help and direction, but in worship for who He is and thanksgiving for what He has done.

My uncle Al Friesen, a faithful minister and pastor, had various health challenges over the years, which were sometimes debilitating. I remember him being so sick he couldn’t sleep, so he would sit up listening to Gospel music. Though his body was weak, he sought comfort where He knew it could be found, and kept a close connection with the One who has all power to heal. Sometimes healing did not come right away, but the closeness continued always. Today my sweet uncle is in Heaven enjoying a perfect healing. Psalm 145:18 says, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth,” and my uncle certainly found this to be true.

Find balance

It can be easy in stressful times to get off balance in our daily habits. Some may seek comfort in diversions such as a favorite hobby or pastime, baking up a storm (and eating), and perhaps staying up too late doing those things. Even activities that are not sinful can be a problem if done to excess. Long-term, they could be harmful to us physically, make us feel out of balance, affect our general outlook on life, and hinder our ability to concentrate on God’s Word or our prayers. Ultimately, this will weaken our spiritual condition.

It is natural to seek comfort in times of distress. However, temporal sources can only give a moment of distraction or relief, not lasting comfort. It’s important to remember where our true peace and comfort come from and pursue Him. The Bible tells us that God is theFather of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When we need comfort, we can find it in God, and there is no overdoing the pursuit of Him.

Keep busy

Occupying ourselves in positive ways can help keep us encouraged when facing difficult times. Whether just doing our daily tasks of work, home projects, and family needs, or helping others in big and small ways, there is often plenty to do. Praying for others, praying with others, and giving an encouraging word are also important tasks that can take our minds off our own problems and help us see the bigger picture of a world in need. Rather than sit around worrying, we can keep busy! Work gives us a sense of purpose. We feel satisfaction when we complete a project, even if it is small.

In my job working at the headquarters office, I sometimes answer the phone at the reception desk. One day as I spoke with an older lady who was very sickly and lonely, she told how another older lady would read the Bible to her over the phone and this meant so much to her! Even doing something very small for another person can have a positive impact on his or her life, and raise our own spirits as well.

Seek help

Feeling unsettled because of our circumstances can bring us to a point where we need support, whether wise advice from the ministry, suggestions from a professional counselor, or the help of a friend. Don’t be afraid to reach out. The devil loves to make people feel like they are alone and no one would understand their situation. Jesus does understand, and He cares! We can first reach out to Him, but also to other Christians who, even if they don’t fully understand, will certainly care and can offer their prayers and a listening ear. Hebrews 10:25 advises: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

A number of years ago I went through a difficult time of distress and anxiety. Various saints and ministers gave me wonderful support during that time, through their prayers and encouraging words. Church services were also a great comfort; just getting together with God’s people lifted my spirits. Ultimately God brought me through that trial, and I am thankful for the help and support I had.

Look forward with patience

Romans 12:12 encourages us to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be continually in prayer. Depending on the challenges we are facing, it can seem like there is no end in sight. Yet, we know that God is with us and He will give victory—either here or in Heaven. Meanwhile, we are encouraged to be patient. While we wait on the Lord, we can endeavor to count our blessings, keeping our focus on Him. He is a good God! We can follow David’s example, as 1 Samuel 30:6 tells us, “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”

Whether our time of “limbo” is short, or long-term, or unknown, we have hope! Jesus is with us and He will take us through. He encourages us, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He can give us peace through every trial. And in Heaven there will be no more pain, no more trials. Our difficulties here on earth will be long forgotten as we enjoy our beautiful new home, forever in the presence of Jesus.

apostolic faith magazine