~By Emma Elstadt
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:2-4 NIV
I have been going through an odd patch in my life. Facing hard trials, losing a family member and dealing with rumors and people wanting to hurt my family. I had weird dreams and nightmares that kept me up at night. I felt so attacked. So vulnerable. Yet, I knew, our fight is not against flesh and blood.
My faith was tested and I had to stay strong. I had to be the better person, had to forgive and speak life, rather than darkness over those who hurt me. Even though it felt like I could have exploded with every single piece of me flying to every single direction. That’s the best way I can explain it. What’s really incredible, is that God helped me seelight in every situation, in every little thing. It took me a while, though, to be honest. He provided a message in every thing I dealt with. His presence calmed me and I felt peace. I chose to place my life before God, knowing He will prepare and strengthen me in whatever trial may come my way. And He did.
So, what is it to have faith? To stand fast and know that God is who He says He is and will do what He has said He will do. Believe that He will guide and strengthen you, even though it feels as if life’s giving up on you. And I know it’s really hard sometimes, but He can turn death into life, and darkness into light. He can renew your mind with extraordinary wisdom on how to deal with challenges the world throws at you. Even the the little things.
There is good in everything and there is always better to come. This is where I smile and say thank You.
But it comes down to the fact that we have to choose where our focus will be. Do we focus on what we see around us or on the One inside us? (Greater is He that is in us, than He that is in the world.)
In this world there are so many things to see. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning, till we close them at night, we are bombarded with advertising, busyness, computer screens, bad news, and so many other things; good and bad. When we look at our circumstances many times, we see disorder, pain, unanswered prayers and many other things that could so easily discourage us. But here is where we can make the choice: Do we allow something that enters our eyes to dictate our thoughts and emotions, or do we deliberately turn our focus to God who is right there willing to give us the grace, peace, joy and strength that we need. This is our choice every day, and this becomes a lifestyle of living by Faith and not by sight.
Where is your focus right now? Do you live in Faith (and consequently peace, joy, strength and victory)? Or do you allow your senses and the world around you to dictate what you think and what you feel. Ultimately the choice is yours. Choose wisely.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” -Colossians 3:4 NIV