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Tuesday, May 2, 2023

In Difficult Times, What Happens in Me Is Most Important

In Acts 27:31 I read, “Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.’” (NIV)

When I experience problems, difficulties, or hurts in life, they can either make me better or bitter. I really have a choice. I can either grow up or give up. I can become who God wants me to be, or I can become hard-hearted

When I go through difficult times, what happens to me is not nearly as important as what happens within me. I’ll take my character with me into eternity—not my circumstances.

How I respond to life’s unfairness is up to me. That’s why it’s wise now to decide what I will do.

Acts 27 teaches and provides three responses to avoid in trials, and from them, I can learn how God wants me to respond instead:

1. Don’t drift; stay focused. “The ship was caught by the storm and could not head into the wind; so we gave way to it and were driven along” (Acts 27:15 NIV). The ship carrying Paul and other prisoners to Rome was in the middle of the Mediterranean and hadn’t seen the sun for 14 days. They couldn’t get any bearings, and they started to drift.

When some people face difficulty, they start drifting through life. They have no goal, purpose, ambition, or dream. Today we call thiscoasting.” The problem with coasting is that I only coast when I’m headed downhill. Life is not a coast; life’s tough. Don’t lose ambition or my dream when life gets hard

2. Don’t discard; hold on. “We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard” (Acts 27:18 NIV). The men in charge needed to lighten the ship, so they threw the cargo overboard, followed by the tackle and the food. Because the storm was so overwhelming, they were discarding things they needed.

When in a storm and the stress becomes unbearable, there is a tendency to abandon values and relationships that I would normally hold onto in better times. Phrases such as, “I’m giving up on this career goal” or “I’m giving up on my dream to go to college.”

But God says, “Stay with the ship!” God uses difficult situations to change people. It’s rarely God’s will for me to run from a difficult situation. God wants me to learn, grow, and develop—and he is there with me all the time.

3. Don’t despair; hope in God. “We finally gave up all hope of being saved” (Acts 27:20 NIV). After 14 days and after giving up their cargo, tackle, and food, the passengers finally gave up hope. But they’d forgotten one thing: Even in a storm, God is in control. He hasn’t left you. I may not feel him, but if I feel far from God, guess who moved? It wasn’t him!

God is with me in the storm, and he’ll help me through it. And on the other side of the storm, I’ll find that he’s grown my character and deepened my faith.

For a while, I had been coasting; no real goals, purpose, ambition or dreams. Through my quiet times and things God has led me into; Get Clear Assessment, Financial Coaching through Ramsey solutions, or taking part in a support group, I have re-discovered my purpose, passion and mission.

Running away from difficult situations has never really helped me. I always find that I need to re-engage and work through it. It makes me hopeful that I can develop my character. 

As I’m going through my Financial Coach training, I’m getting a bit hung up on what they refer to as prospecting; finding those who could use my help.  It seems like a difficult task and I’m not sure that it's in my makeup to go and find those in need. I believe I will just need to pray and ask God to lead me to or put others in my path that he wants me to help. I can depend on him. He will be with me and he will help me through this.

It’s also interesting that my most recent Financial coach training lesson is on “Choosing to Change”. It is essentially, when you BELIEVE you can change things, then things change. Change is a choice.