Often, as we look back on our lives, we are able to identify certain breaking points that we experienced just before we received our breakthrough from God. At these breaking points, we were simply at the end of our rope, and we had done all we could do. It is at these times when something shifts spiritually and we go from leaning on ourselves to leaning on God. Completely. We might be in such a deep pit of horribleness that the thought of ever having a happy ending is laughable. But we can hold tightly to the truth that God will see us through the tough times as we trust him day by day. Our happy ending starts now because as we draw near to God, he draws near to us (James 4:8 ESV) and because God rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6 ESV).
In his mercy, God will put us on the path to healing many years before we actually see or feel any results in the natural world. He does this so that we can be well and that our circumstances can be mended from the inside out. God reveals to us certain recovery points that we need to consider before we move on to the next level in him. We may get to a point where we are able to start accepting the realities of our life, to start acknowledging what it is that we are going through. We won’t be able to ignore the hardship anymore or rationalize things anymore. God may lead us to different kinds of resources so that we can read and learn about the issue we are facing. We may start to see and understand how our personalities and the personalities of others have played a role in our being stuck where we’re at. We will learn that we can’t change other people but we can only change our own choices, our own attitudes, and our own responses to our environment.
We may feel very alone and so afraid because our defense mechanisms up until this point have served a very important purpose—to keep us company and to help us avoid and deny the hard truths of our life. We may feel trapped, and we may wonder how we are ever going to get out of the pit that we have found ourselves in. As Christians, we don’t have to give in to these feelings of loneliness, fear, and entrapment. We can pray a prayer of faith (James 5:15 ESV) and believe that God is with us as we walk through the waters (Isaiah 43:1–4 ESV).
If we feel oppressed by evil forces, we can speak to the darkness and cast out the meddlesome demons (Mark 16:17–18 ESV; Luke 10:19 KJV; John 14:12–14 NLT), and we can also intercede on the behalf of our family members and our own selves by praying in the Spirit until we feel at peace (Romans 8:26–27 ESV). We come to recognize that we are at God’s mercy and that there is no way out except by God’s deliverance of us (Isaiah 50:9 ESV).
Sometimes we might not totally know (by our fickle feelings) if trusting God is going to work (to be honest!). But we simply must make up our minds about it and just go with what we know and then hope that all the things we have learned about God, his justice, and his mercy are true. If we weren’t Christians and didn’t believe that God was God, then we will most definitely succumb to despair and more than likely stay in the pit. These are grim outcomes, and they don’t reflect God’s will for his children (Philippians 4:19 ESV). After all, God rescued Joseph from his pit (Genesis 37:28 ESV) and Paul and Silas from their prison (Acts 16:25–27 NLT). The only thing we can do—especially in hard times—is trust God (Isaiah 12:2 ESV).
I say all of this not to limit our choices in life (because who doesn’t enjoy making things happen for themselves if they discover that they desperately need a situation to improve?) but to give context for the life of faith. The happy ending that we all seek starts now, while we are yet going through our difficult season. Jesus is our peace (Ephesians 2:14 ESV), and once we put ourselves and the circumstances of our lives in God’s hands (Deuteronomy 33:27 ESV; Isaiah 54:8 ESV; Jeremiah 31:3 ESV), we can rest easy (Exodus 33:14 ESV; Matthew 11:28–30 ESV; Isaiah 26:3 ESV), knowing that God carries us now (Isaiah 40:10–11 NLT; Isaiah 63:8–9 NLT; Deuteronomy 1:31 NLT; Isaiah 46:4 NLT; John 10:9–15 NLT) and that he is with us (John 16:33 ESV; 1 John 4:4 ESV; Genesis 26:24 ESV; Matthew 1:23 ESV).