Having faith and hope is essential in difficult times

The COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world reminds me that life is but a hailstorm. So often we want peace and calm in our lives, but shit happens. And it’s anything but the peace and calm we long for.

We are currently on lockdown in a number of countries around the world. Fear of death is at its highest. There is a virus that has turned life as we know it upside down. It is not life as we had been accustomed to, things are not as we would have usually had them. Nothing is normal.

Life has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic as if that was not enough, we still have marital struggles, family struggles, health struggles, job struggles, financial struggles and on and on. Times are tough and we need God. So, how do we keep faith in God during times like this?

There are millions of people who are going through struggles. Each day is a battle and for many life is almost impossible to cope.
It is in times like these that faith and hope become the fuel to power you through a difficult and seemingly difficult and challenging day.

Recently a friend, knowing about some of my struggles, said “You always have a smile on your face!”. Another friend said, “I don’t know how you can manage to keep writing positive articles and books with all you’re going through!” Even more have said, “how are you holding it together?”

Obviously, I don’t have any special ability to hold it together or to endure tough times. My struggles are real and they hurt, a lot has happened in the past year, loved ones have died, mean and hurtful things have been said, friends who were once close have conspired to destroy what I have worked hard to build and in-laws (former) have sowed more seeds of hate and continue to try to break my spirit.

But I remain resolute and upbeat for I know the key to my strength is having faith in God, even in the midst of the storms. It’s easy and it’s not.

This type of faith takes time and practice. You can’t wait until the most difficult thing in your life happens to implement it. We don’t want to have more difficult times to practice with, so it’s best to go ahead and practice these techniques when things are going okay.

My time in lockdown and isolation has allowed me space to reflect and meditate.
I have never been more focused and determined to accomplish my goals and live my life to it’s fullest than I am now.

Sometimes it takes a huge earthquake to awaken you to live life to it’s fullest. I have lost loved ones, my father, my mother, my brother, my sister and my wife but I still have faith I have hope and I know God rewards in His good time.
Times are difficult, doubt fills the world at this time. Many are questioning their faith, some even doubting the existence of God amidst this global pandemic.

However, now is the time to increase your faith in Him. I know this is hard. I’ve experienced seasons when the pain was too much to indure. I was too hurt to pray. Seasons where every prayer was a tear-filled cry for help. I’ve experienced times when I was so spiritually oppressed that I felt like a dark cloud hovered over me and prayer just seemed impossible. The only way to break out of those seasons is to do the hard thing…pray. Start with asking God to remove the oppression and to help you. He will answer even the shortest smallest, one-word prayer…even the one word uttered through tears from a cracked voice. It may take days or weeks to get beyond the smallest prayer for help. Once it does, ask Him to increase your faith and trust in Him and in His plan. If you’re angry, tell Him. He already knows and He is more than able to handle our emotions. “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

It is in times like these that we must Praise God. Even if you’re in a difficult season, praise God. I remember this time last year driving my wife to hospital (to a cancer specialist). We had been told there was nothing they could do to cure her and so all they could do was manage her pain. I remember that I would pray the same short prayer, because I had asked for my wife’s health in every possible way words could be used, but I kept praying and praising God.
Most of the days during my wife’s battle with cancer, I did not feel well physically and I was spiritually and emotionally drained. But I chose to praise God and He refreshed me. I share these experiences to encourage people not to lose faith and never to cease praising God no matter what you maybe going through.

You could use music, singing, lifting your hands, kneeling…it doesn’t matter, but focus on God and praise Him. Remind Him and yourself of His attributes. He’s sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, holy, beautiful, loving, etc. As you praise God, you’re confirming who He is to yourself. You’re increasing your recognition that His works are wonderful and that He has your best interests in mind. You’re making yourself aware of His goodness and His plans. And you’re telling God that even in this storm, I trust You. “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song” (Ps. 28:7).
Indeed, life is a hailstorm but every storm ends at some point and a beautiful rainbow will colour the sky. Don’t lose hope.