When you feel overwhelmed by the trials in your life, what do you do? In times of discouragement, frustration, exasperation — and even failure — where do you turn?
Life doesn’t always go the way we hope it will. At times, there are disappointments, setbacks, and failures — or problems that seem unsolvable.
Such events are a normal part of life. Learning to handle the regular adversity that comes our way is a big lesson for us. What should we do? Bring it to Him.
One of the more daunting aspects of the friendship I enjoyed with Derek Prince was his seeming perfection. The man never seemed to lose his cool.
Derek always seemed to be at peace — in total control of his emotions and reactions, largely unruffled by adversity. That quality always stood in stark contrast to the way I would often react to the ups and downs of life.
I freely admit that even now, I get aggravated and upset at those times when I encounter a predicament, a roadblock, or a failure in any aspect of my life.
I hope that isn’t a shocking revelation. (Please tell me that I’m not the only Christian who struggles at times to stay on an even keel!)
Setbacks happen in life, and it takes maturity and wisdom to handle those events.
Instruction from Jesus
Recently, I was encouraged by some newfound inspiration from the Word of God on this topic. The first helpful passage is an incident that took place right after the account of the Transfiguration in Mark 9:14–29.
While the Savior was absent from them, His disciples had tried unsuccessfully to minister to a boy who suffered from epileptic seizures. In a word, they had failed in their attempts to help.
In verse 19, Jesus said to them, “O faithless [unbelieving] generation, how long shall I be with you?” Then He gave them the instruction that you and I would do well to emblazon upon our minds for every tough situation we face: “Bring him to Me.”
Isn’t that interesting? Jesus links faith to the act of bringing situations to Him. Often, we feel we are exercising our faith in the best way by trying to solve the problem on our own.
Yet the command Jesus issues here implies that the truest act of faith for us is one simple step: bring it to Him.
To Whom Do We Turn?
What should we do when situations take a downturn? The life of David provides numerous lessons, and I’ll list a few here for our encouragement.
First, we read David’s words to The LORD in Psalm 61:2:
“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
When my heart is overwhelmed….. Do you ever feel that way?
During David’s times of adversity (and there were many such times), he knew exactly where to turn. He talks of The LORD being a shelter, a high tower, a refuge.
If David could speak directly with us today, the advice he would give from his own experience would be very elementary: Bring yourself to Him.
Finding Refuge and Direction
We read the account of one of David’s most discouraging trials in 1 Samuel 30.
In that passage, David and his men had returned to their camp at Ziklag to find it burned to the ground — and their wives, children, and possessions carried away by the Amalekites. His men blamed David, considering it so much his fault that they even thought of stoning him.
What did David do in the face of this kind of criticism and disappointment? You and I might have been tempted to complain: “This really hurts, Lord. On top of all else that I am facing, how could You allow this to happen?”
But David did the opposite: he tucked in close to The LORD. I love his response in verse 8: “So David inquired of The LORD.” Without a doubt, David knew that he could bring it to Him.
A Creature of Eternity
Whenever we bring our concerns to The LORD, we invite Him to place His eternal touch upon them. In a message entitled “The Eternal, Unchanging Word,” Derek Prince reminds us of this truth:
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 KJV.
See, we always need to bear in mind this contrast between the temporal (the flesh, the grass) and the eternal (the unseen, the Word of God, the truth that never changes, the life of God which is always the same).
Here is the very important practical application. Our light affliction works for us only while we do what? While we look where? Only while we look at the things which are not seen.
The moment you take your eyes off those, your affliction isn’t working. Our affliction only works when we take our eyes off of the things which are seen: our sickness; our problems; our financial difficulties; the strife and disorder in our homes; the criticism and opposition that we meet in doing The LORD’s work. If we look at those things, our affliction is not working for us.
But our affliction works for us a far more and exceeding eternal weight of glory while we look at the things which are not seen.
What are those? The eternal things: the Word of God which abides forever; the power of God; the love of God; the faithfulness of God; the mercy of God which never changes.
Everything depends on where you are looking. When you sink down into your own trouble and pressure and affliction, you take your eyes off the eternal things — and the Holy Spirit stops working.
He can do no more for you until you get your eyes back where they belong, which is off the temporal onto the eternal. What is God doing? He is wooing you from being a creature of time to being a creature of eternity.
Help for Our Decisions
Let’s return to the questions at the beginning of this letter: When you feel overwhelmed by trials, what do you do? Where do you turn?
The temptation may be for us to take action on our own and respond in our own strength. Instead, let’s take a moment to pray together and bring it to Him.
Lord, You know the trials, disappointments, and failures that I periodically face in my life. I confess that I have tried to work through them in my own strength.
Now I understand that You want me to bring them to You.
LORD Jesus, with this prayer, I pull together every one of the disappointments and failures I have experienced in life, and I present them to You.
I declare my confidence that You will take them, resolve them, and turn them redemptively for good.
Please help me to keep my eyes on the eternal, unseen realities as I look to You. I pledge that in the future, when my heart is overwhelmed, I will bring myself to You.
Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
Applying the Solution
Sometimes I am amazed at how simple the solutions are for us in the Christian life. On occasion, even though they may be easy to understand, they are hard to apply.
Just now, however, in a very simple act, you and I have taken the step to turn everything over to The LORD and shift our gaze upward.
In the weeks to come, you may have to remind yourself to take this step again. Please allow us to encourage you at that point.
All of us at DPM are here for you. We are praying for you, and we are also eager to provide whatever resources you need to stand strong in your decision to bring yourself to Him.
Why not start by downloading “The Eternal, Unchanging Word,” the message from which we took Derek’s quote used earlier in this letter? It is free — our way of saying thank you again for your prayers and your generosity to DPM.
When We Are Burdened
I hope this letter has encouraged you in a very basic principle of our relationship with Jesus Christ — the need to bring ourselves to Him in all seasons of our lives, especially when we encounter obstacles, setbacks, challenges that won’t budge, and even failures.
There is one more passage of Scripture — the wonderful invitation in verse 28 of Matthew 11 — which I could have used earlier.
Instead, I have decided to cite these words now as I conclude this letter. Jesus is speaking to you and me again, especially when we are in the condition of being “weary and burdened.”
What does our LORD Jesus say? “Come to Me.” That’s it. We come to Him.
Actually, this is the same simple answer to the question of where we should turn and what we should do when our hearts are overwhelmed. What are you and I to do? Bring ourselves to Him.
All the best,
P.S. We send our love and thanks for your prayers and support for the work going on worldwide through DPM. What an honor to partner with you! Please let us express our thanks by our free offer for Derek’s message, “The Eternal, Unchanging Word.”
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.