A couple weeks ago, my church did a series called Different. The first week we talked about being different when we face trials by our faith.
We face trials every day, both big and small. By having depression/anxiety, every day can be it’s own trial. I face the trial of facing people every day, of leaving the house, even. Those are small trials. My bigger trial is that my fiancé and I are currently trying to find our own place to live.
It recently occurred to me that this is an amazing opportunity to test my faith, to hope with expectation, and to be different.
1 Peter 1:6-7(ESV)
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
We are blessed in the waiting and during difficult times. While those who don’t know Christ see waiting periods and trials as inconvenient, we see them as opportunities to grow our faith. By waiting for God to bless us with a home, I can go to Him in prayer, I can read about hope and waiting in Scripture, I can tell others about His promises and how my faith is currently being tested in an amazing way. And when God gives us our place, they’ll see that He is faithful.
Life is full of waiting, hoping, and trials. We all hope for things and face hard times. But what is it about expectant hope that makes us different? What is it about welcoming and embracing trials that makes us stand out?
Expecting whatever it is you’re hoping for is saying to God, “Thank you for providing this for me,” before you even have it. It’s confirming that you are trusting Him to provide for you. While we can already rejoice in what we don’t have yet, others are doing the opposite, which, unfortunately, is more common. Embracing the trials with hopeful expectation makes us different because the world rejects and avoids these inevitable times that are necessary for our growth.
But what if God says no? What if His timing isn’t your timing? What if whatever trial you’re facing seems to never end? In my opinion, the “no’s” come in when you didn’t get the house you wanted, but you’re still blessed with even having the option. God says no when He has something better planned for us. He makes us wait so we can grow and prepare for whatever it is He is bringing us. We face trials so we can be blessed. Even if those hard times get answered in a way you don’t want, God always has your very best interest in mind, and He has a plan for you. A perfect plan, at that.
You can always trust that He will provide. You can test Him, and test Him, and test Him again, and He will prove His faith over, and over, and over. Sometimes His answers aren’t as obvious as others. Sometimes they’re small and simple, just enough to get you by. Others can be obvious, if you know how to see them. By seeing the small things, such as simply waking up, you are different. By rejoicing in hard times, in trials, you are different.
James 1:2-4 (ESV)
Testing of Your Faith
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
This world has done an incredible job at twisting reality into something so negative. But God sheds light on the good. When you read His Word and grow closer to Him, you learn how to see through His eyes and not the world’s. This is another way He transforms lives, by changing perspectives. By making you different.
So how does all this pertain to anxiety?
Advice Tip #22: The more trials you face with your anxiety and/or depression, the closer to God you will become. When life brings a trial, being your anxiety or depression, or whatever you may have, it is a door opening. An invitation to run to God and seek His love. An invitation to experience something different.
I had a small anxiety “moment,” as I call them, earlier, where I needed to lie down and pray a small and simple prayer. That small moment was a huge blessing. Without that moment, I wouldn’t have thought to pray at the time. It gave me a divine opportunity to feel His presence, and to feel His peace wash over me. A divine moment that was disguised as something scary brought me closer to Him. I embraced that small trial differently than the way the world has taught us, and He proved Himself. He is always here for us, no matter what. He will always be there to intervene, and you should hope for that expectantly.
Stay hopeful. Be glad for trials. Accept them, face them, and seek Him. Be different.
Thanks for reading,