In Luke 8 we see the disciples enduring a trial and a question from Jesus that illustrate how we can all move through the difficulties that life throws at us:
“One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. Now a violent windstorm came down on the lake, and the boat started filling up with water, and they were in danger. They came and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are about to die!” So he got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they died down, and it was calm. Then he said to them, “Where is your faith?” But they were afraid and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him!””
Lloyd-Jones writes that there are many Christians who get into difficulty and are unhappy from time to time because they clearly have not understood the nature of faith. Again, we’re not expecting a trouble-free, plain-sailing life once we confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour (cf. James 1.2-3), but to crumble and to backslide when life gets difficult is something that shouldn’t happen to the believer. Storm and trials are part of life, Lloyd-Jones goes on to say, and to think we will never face trial or tribulation is a terrible fallacy and a delusion. Jesus redirects the disciples’ thoughts and feelings in the midst of difficulty by saying
“Where is your faith?”
So, how do we positively move through trial and tribulation with the faith that His question assumes we have? We’re given a couple of clear points in Spiritual Depression;
1. Refuse to allow ourselves to be controlled by the situation.
This is hard, isn’t it? Some situations do feel like they are controlling you, storms on boats, for example. Things are happening, things are said, things are planned that are just out of our control and the feeling is one of being driven and directed by what’s going on around us rather than having any input or influence. When things get like this, our faith is our refusal to panic. We refuse to be controlled by what’s going on and we refuse to panic because we believe in a God who is bigger and greater that what’s going on and Sovereign over all.
2. Hold on to what you know is true.
You know who you are and you know whose you are (John 1.12, Genesis 1.27). When life gets difficult we go back to what we know is true and we go from there, we reason from what [we] know to be fact. We know that God loves us, gave what was most precious to Him to save us, exchanged heaven for here to redeem us, and became poor so we could become rich. When life gets difficult we lean into our faith and go back to what we know to be true.
3. Bring all you know to be true of your relationship to God to bear upon your trial.
Similar to #2, in the midst of trial and tribulation we know that God is there, an ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46.1), that He loves you as a prefect Father (1 Chronicles 17.13), and that He will never allow anything to happen to you that is truly harmful (Romans 8.28-29).
Sometimes points like these can leave us feeling even more overwhelmed, maybe like, “How am I going to manage that when I can’t even get through…‘. If you feel like that, don’t worry. Lloyd-Jones closes with this, a great passage to take into our day: