March 12th – Les Kovacs
Thank you so much for your questions this week. I am touched by the depth of your interest and the excellent questions generated in response to my last talk. I have chosen to respond to one of these questions because it landed close to my heart.
At one point in my sermon, I talked about submitting to God as a way of walking in His wisdom, and one of your questions asked how we can submit to God during especially hard times. This question really struck a chord with me because I too struggled with this issue a number of years ago when I hit a very rough patch in my life. I won’t go into the gory details, but it was without doubt the lowest point in my life, and I wondered how I would possibly be able to go on. I had suffered a deep emotional loss; I made some regrettable-in-hindsight decisions; and I felt deserted by some people I had really counted on. Fortunately, those who really were the closest to me, my immediate family and my true brothers and sisters, helped me regain my emotional equilibrium, and strengthened my reliance on God.
When we’ve been wounded deeply, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, our natural tendency is to withdraw. Like when we touch a hot stove, and we reflexively pull our hand away. When we hurt and want to protect ourselves from further harm, we pull back into a defensive posture. We withdraw from our family, our friends, and even from God. Yet that is exactly when we need them, and especially Him, the most. That is when we need His love, forgiveness, and compassion the most. When we are unable to carry on in our own strength, and we place our faith in Him, He can carry us through the difficult circumstances and deliver us safely on the other side. I know that because I have felt Him carry me.
And there are some practical ways for us to reach out to Him in our time of need. These are some of the supports that helped me:
Prayer and seeking God's guidance. Prayer is a powerful way to us connect with God and seek His guidance during difficult times. Take time to talk with God and ask for His strength and guidance, and the wisdom to accept His will. Psalm 25:5, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Find comfort in scripture. Reading the Bible can provide comfort and guidance during difficult times. Scripture reminds us of God's love, His promises, and His plan for our lives. Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Trust in God's plan. Remember that God is in control and that He has a plan for your life. Sometimes it is difficult to see the bigger picture, but trusting in God's plan can help you find peace and comfort. Trust in His wisdom and accept that He knows what is best for you. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Let go of control. Letting go of control and surrendering to God's will can be very difficult, but necessary. Let go of your fears and worries and surrender them to God. Accept that we cannot control everything in our lives, and it is essential to remain patient and have faith in His ultimate goodness and mercy. Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.“
Practice gratitude. Despite the challenges you are facing, try to find things to be grateful for. Focusing on the blessings in our lives can help shift our perspective and bring a sense of gratitude. Focusing on the positives in your life can help bring you closer to God, and acknowledging His goodness and faithfulness can also help us grow our trust in His plan for our lives. Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Seek support. Don't be afraid to reach out to family members, friends, and your spiritual brothers and sisters for support. Surround yourself with people who love you and will uplift and encourage you. There is wisdom in the council of many, particularly if they are your Christian family. God placed them in your life for a reason.
Submitting to God's will during difficult times can be a daunting challenge, but it can also be a source of comfort and strength. It means trusting in His goodness and seeking His guidance and support to help you through it. Remember, He loves you and will never desert you.
Questions for you. Are you afraid to intentionally submit to God when you find yourself in one of life’s big messes? If so, what’s holding you back?
Praise be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit!
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.