Last time, we explored how our faith gets stronger in our struggles. God uses our struggle to refine in us the image of Jesus Christ.
In the valley, he is building character. He is changing us. He is maturing us. Faith is built in the valleys of life. God is far more interested in our character than he is in our comfort or convenience.
So how do we get through the valleys? First, refuse to be discouraged. David said, “I’m not going to be afraid. I will fear no evil. I will calmly walk through the valley.” See Psalm 23:4. David had made a choice. He was not going to run. He was not going to panic. He was willing to walk through the valley, not camp in it, and he was aware of God’s presence each and every step of the way.
We’re just like the Psalmist, David. We have a choice. We are not helpless. We can refuse to be discouraged. We can choose not to be afraid. We can decide to keep our focus on God and his work in our lives.
Issues like discouragement and depression are often a sign that my focus is wrong. Am I choosing to think discouraging thoughts? Am I listening to the wrong people? When you choose to look at all of the negatives, by default, you have chosen not to focus on Christ or on the positive things he wants to do in your life. That’s a choice, and you can choose to change.
One way to overcome discouragement and depression is to choose to focus on God’s power and not my problems. Easier said than done, right? Have you ever been depressed? I understand that there are all kinds of contributors to issues like these. But instead of looking for exceptions, I am proposing some principles that have great possibility for your life.
This also helps explain why you can place two people in identical situations — chaos, tragedy, crisis — one person is blown away and defeated, and the other actually comes away from the experience stronger and more determined than ever. How does that happen? The difference is often found in focus.
You can choose to focus on your circumstances or on Christ. You may look to the situation or to the Savior. Have you chosen to focus on your problem or on God’s power?
God may actually use your struggle to get your attention and bring you closer to Him.
Next time, we’ll consider more help for getting through the valleys of life.
You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.