How Do You Remain Faithful When You Feel Like Your Life Is Falling Apart
Faith causes it
Life just happens
Brought on by ourselves
What do you do when you feel like your life is falling apart. Or what do you do when your life is truly falling apart? These are questions that you will either face, or are currently facing. And if you are currently facing them, you’ll agree with me that life just feels hopelessly hopeless and you just want to give up. Maybe you’re here tonight and everything that can go wrong is going wrong. Maybe your parents are fighting, or are separated, or are getting divorced. Maybe your dad has left you and your family. Maybe you’re having massive issues at school or work, or with friends. Or you just don’t want to live anymore because a multitude of things are going wrong. Maybe you’ve done something really bad that you don’t think you could ever be forgiven. What do you do? Where do you turn?
I want to take you back in time....to Joseph. Now, we know Joseph’s story and we know how it ended. But let’s take a deeper look real quick. Imagine you are Joseph, living in a dark cell, for what’s been 8 years at this point. It’s hot, muggy, there are spiders and scorpions and snakes all around. How do you sleep???? But more importantly, how do you keep living, day over day in that environment. Sure, you’ve been placed over all the other inmates, but that just means you are doing someone’s job for them with zero pay. At night time, you struggle to sleep because you keep having all of these dreams....dreams that are so incredibly real you aren’t sure what to do with them, dreams that you can’t help but think as the reason you are where you are. During the day, you can’t help but to keep thinking about your brothers, you know, the ones who sold you into slavery. Anger starts to build up inside of you. How could they do this to you? How could God let them do this to you? But you move from your brothers to your father, the one you haven’t seen in over 10 years. You remember his face, but it is starting to blur a bit. Does he remember you? Does he think you are dead? What is going through his mind? But, then your mind goes back even further to your how your same father had to wait 20 years for Rachel. That was a long time too, and he must have felt similar anxiety and despair. Or even farther back, how Rebekah, your grandmother, had to wait for years for Jacob to lead Israel. Or even farther back still, how your grandfather Isaac was the outcome of years and years of waiting by Abraham and Sarah, your great grandparents. And slowly, your mind starts to remember the promises of God, and how he promised your parents and grandparents of things and those things happened, just as he said they would. And all of the sudden, you feel some hope in your heart. You start thinking, maybe I’m not totally forgotten here after all. And then there is the unexplainable joy rising up in your soul that you can’t explain, and the other prisoners don’t understand, but you can’t stop smiling. Why? Because you realized and remembered that your ancestors had faith, they had faith in their God, that He would do what He said He would do.
We could keep going with examples here, Job, Jeremiah, David, Paul, Stephen, Peter, etc......they all went through very rough periods in their life when it felt like everything was falling apart. But they all remained faithful? How did they do that?
See, we have the extreme benefit of reading the ending of these people’s lives, knowing how the story ends. We don’t have that privilege in our own lives, so we often get caught up in the moment, myself included. Well, tonight, I want to look at three things we need to have in place to be able to remain faithful when it feels like everything is falling apart.
Faith, Family, and Focus - the three F’s.
You won’t remain faithful to Him if you don’t have faith.
I know this seems like common sense, but I think it’s deeper than that. If we don’t have faith, meaning, if we’ve just been “doing the church thing” for our entire lives, if that’s you, and things are getting tough and nothing seems to be working, then you won’t remain faithful. You might be able to fake it for a little longer, but eventually you’ll give up on it.
But, I want you to see, that having faith in Him is the ONLY way we can have any confidence or hope in our future, and in our life.
Turn with me to , “ 11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
, “ 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
What I want you to see here is that to have true faith is to have true hope that something so much better than this life is in store for us.
And when we have that true faith and hope, our life, though yes, still very difficult and still a struggle, can begin to take a backseat, because we are looking to Him and the promises that He bring us.
What do I mean by family here? Well, I mean two things.
Family - when things are tough, who do we often turn to? Family. We turn to those whom we are willing to let see us vulnerable, or scared, or hurt. We turn to our family. We do that because that is what God intended. He made the family unit to be this close knit group who live together, sharing joys and struggles, and encouraging each other.
Church Family - But maybe your family is the reason you feel like your life is falling apart. Often, that is the case. So many times our family life lets us down, in one aspect or the other. So, what do you do then? Well, that is why God created the church, for this very purpose.
Turn with me to , “ 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
Or how about , “ 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
What I want you to see here is that the church was made for your struggles. The church was made for you to turn to in time of need. Whether that be a physical need, an economical need, an emotional need, or whatever. We, as believers, so those who have faith, we are to draw together in times of need. God knew we needed a place where we could band together as brothers and sisters in Christ, and this is the place to do it.
So if this is true of you, that you don’t know where to turn, can I tell you, this would be the best place to start, right here. You guys, you have youth leaders in me and Savannah, Chris and Megan, John and Tammy, Hayley, I know I’m not speaking out of turn here, this is why we are here! When you aren’t sure where to turn, call one of us, text us, whatever....but take advantage of each of the leader’s willingness to help.
And also know we operate on a level of trust around here. If you confide in a leader, know that it is in confidence. We don’t get together each month and talk about you, I promise! Now, if something needed to be shared with me, or Pastor Dave, we would do that, but only if necessary, and only with letting you know we are doing so. We want you to trust us, and I want you to know that you can trust us.
Or, turn to someone else in your church family, someone that is living a life of faith. But know that the church doesn’t exist just to meet on Sundays as a social club. The church exists to encourage one another, to meet together, to help with any needs one may have.
Now, our culture is very quick to jump on this focus bandwagon. I can’t tell you how many people I scroll through on facebook who have these “positive” sayings plastered on their walls.
“Stay positive, good things will happen”
“Wake up, smile, and tell yourself, today is my day”
“Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive good things and good people will be drawn to you”
Ugh, I’m not a fan
So, what do I mean by Focus?
I mean, focus on Him.
I know I know, most of you probably think this is a lame point, but this is THE point.
Why do you think people are willing to be imprisoned, and burnt alive, and cut to pieces for their faith?
Because they aren’t focused on their daily trials. Their faith has caused them to focus on something even greater, Jesus.
Look at Stephen the martyr, who is being stoned to death and is looking to Heaven with a big ol smile on his face.
The Bible tells us that our life will be full of trials. These trials may be brought on by ourselves, or by our faith, or by living in a sinful world, but we are told they will come.
Yet at the same time, the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
It also tells us, “ 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
See, when our focus is on the eternal, on Him, the daily struggles tend to melt away.
Like a camera that zooms in on something in the background, everything else in front of it gets a bit blurry right?
Same thing happens in our lives.
So if you are here today, and your life just feels like it’s falling apart....and that does happen, what are some things to remember?
Look to your faith for the strength and remembrance of His promises
Look to your family, and especially your church family, for encouragement and help in your struggles
Where is Your Focus? On your daily struggles, or on your eternal life with Him.
These three things are key to overcoming obstacles in our lives. You can try to do it on your own, you can try to just think positive and hope for the best. But I promise you, these three things are so important. And best of all, they are right there for you.
Do you have faith?
If you do, is your church family an important part of your life, is it a place where you find shelter?
Where is your daily focus? On yourself and the world? Or on Him and His Word?