Spiritual Development: Trusting God through the Seasons
Christians will experience a wide range of emotions and struggles in this life and in the process of spiritual development. We are not promised a life of perfection on this earth, but we are reminded that God will never abandon us in the trying times.
There are many obstacles and struggles that people face every single day:
- Some women experience multiple miscarriages, and some are not able to conceive at all.
- There are children abandoned by their parents, left to be raised by a family member they hardly know.
- There are women and children raped by a person they trusted most, leaving them with a broken spirit and broken trust.
- There are marriages in shambles because one spouse has a pornography addiction and refuses to get help.
- There are people overcome by anxiety and depression, too ashamed and embarrassed to ask for help.
- Young children are being abused by their parents and told that they will never amount to anything.
- First responders are struggling with PTSD, just praying that the nightmares and flashbacks will end.
- There are overworked and underappreciated caretakers, at the end of their rope, so tired and overwhelmed that they have no idea where to turn for help.
- There are cancer patients, going through chemotherapy, losing their hair, and just begging God for the treatment to work.
- There are people diagnosed with long-term illnesses, just praying for a cure and that their time with family is one full of memories and laughter rather than pain and isolation.
- New mothers are struggling with postpartum depression but feel the need to put on this façade that they have it all together and everything is blissful.
There are also many joy-filled experiences that people are facing every single day:
- When someone accepts Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.
- When a couple decides to attend marriage counseling and vows to put the work in to restore their marriage.
- There is a family who decided they wanted to start going to church again and build authentic spiritual relationships.
- There are people overcome with grief who make the phone call or send the text, asking for help and feel instant relief because they know that they no longer have to fight alone.
- There are women giving birth for the first time – the same women who experienced miscarriage after miscarriage, who received their rainbow baby.
Seeds are being planted, marriages being restored, relationships seeking healing, homes being reunited, and conversations being had right now.
There is a time for joy and a time for tears. There is a time for celebrating, and a time for grief and mourning. God promises that regardless of what season you are in right now, He is present. He is with you. He is wiping your tears away or celebrating those joyous moments alongside you.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There are people on their faces right now, begging God for answers, just trying to make it through each day. Whether you are in a season of celebration or a season of grief, your relationship with Christ and with others is important in both.
Tips for Trusting God
Here are a few things to consider as you seek God’s will and navigate the torrential downpours or rainbow looming on the horizon:
Spend time in prayer.
Whether you are awaiting a test result, praising God that a debt was just paid off, or trying to figure out what chapter is next for your life – pray.
So, it is with your prayers. Ask and you’ll receive. Seek and you’ll discover. Knock on heaven’s door, and it will one day open for you. Every persistent seeker will discover what he needs. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door. – Luke 11:9
When we pray, we are drawn closer to God. This gives us the strength to seek His will and trust Him through the good and the bad. When we pray, our eyes are opened to the good that God can bring through any situation. When we pray, we worry less about what is next and try to trust and praise in whatever season of life we are facing.
“The reality is my prayers don’t change God. But I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.” – Lysa TerKeurst
Prayer might not always change our current circumstances, but it can change our hearts and our outlook on our current situation.
Make spiritual growth a priority.
It is important to realize that we are either moving forward or moving backward. We do not stay stagnant in our relationship with Christ. Whether you are in a season of difficulty or a season of unexpected blessings, it is important to make spiritual growth a priority. God can grow you in the hardships or the celebrations. God can use your story to encourage someone else.
It is vital to prioritize your relationship with Christ by studying His Word, the road map for our lives! It is also crucial to have an accountability partner or system in place to encourage you and support you through the rough or bountiful seasons of life.
You can engage in a Bible study with a close friend, attend a small group at church, serve at your church or in the community, and take care of your spiritual health. It is important to have a friend who can celebrate the God-moments with you, and a friend who can support you through the panic attacks, defeating periods, or to be there simply when you need a friend to hug you and say, “I am here for you!”
If you are new to studying the Bible, do not let it defeat you. Start small and start simple. Ask questions. You do not need to become a theologian overnight. You can download a Bible app on your phone and select one of the many topical plans to get started. As you delve into God’s Word, you will find yourself becoming hungry for more, wanting a relationship with Christ.
“When the world beats you down, open up your Bible.” – Lysa TerKeurst
Love and serve others.
As you try to seek God’s will for your life, it is crucial to use the talents and abilities God has given you to share His Word and love others. God wants us to love others in their messy seasons of life. He wants us to minister to other people in their heartache and encourage them in their victories. Be confident in who God created you to be and be confident in the passions that God has given you.If you love to cook, you can make meals for people in need or send meals to new moms. If you love to play music, you can join the church praise team. If you love to write encouraging notes, you can send them to shut-ins or those who are grieving. If you love to teach children, you can help in children’s church on Sunday mornings or mentor young children in an after-school program.
There is no limit to how God can use your talents and abilities if you let Him lead the way.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:10-11
Christian Counseling for Spiritual Development
Serving others, delving into God’s Word, establishing a support system, and praying are all important parts of your journey – through the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Regardless of what season of life you are in right now, know we would love to encourage and aid you in your journey – whether you are experiencing a significant loss, trying to navigate anxiety, or trying to figure out your next chapter in life.
“Sunbeams”, Courtesy of Elia Pellegrini, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Meditate”, Courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Reaching for the Sky”, Courtesy of Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Sunbeam”, Courtesy of Elia Pellegrini, Unsplash.com, CC0 License