No one gets to live a life without setbacks. All of us will face storms from time to time.
The real issue is how we respond. What happens next? Do setbacks dominate you? Do you stop trying and give up?
If we’re not careful, setbacks will lead us toward unhelpful decisions:
- Drifting from our goals. We hear the little voice inside that asks, “What’s the use of trying?” Then we stop striving for what God has clearly called us to do.
- Discarding what we value. Sometimes, after a period of intense pain, our priorities change—we let go of what once mattered greatly to us.
- Despairing about our future. We figure we’re doomed, we’re finished, and it’s all over.
As a pastor now for more than 40 years, I’ve watched many people react to crises in one of those three ways. I’ve discovered that the true test of faith is not how high you jump when you’re singing praises to God, but how straight you walk when you’re going through the valley of the shadow of death.
You’ll always drift in a storm without the right anchor. And only one anchor will really do.
One of the Bible’s most famous passages says it like this: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Psalm 23:4 NIV).
God’s presence is the greatest anchor in any situation.
When you’re feeling hopeless, remember that God hasn’t left you. Make him your rock-solid anchor. No matter how dark your valley, you’ve never been closer to God than you are at this exact moment.
When I make that statement to people as they’re going through setbacks, they often tell me: “Well, I don’t feel his presence.”
But it really has nothing to do with how you feel. The Bible says God is there in your darkest valley. That’s reality—whether you believe it or not.
The Bible tells us, “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us” (Romans 8:38-39 The Message).
No matter what you’re going through, God and his love are right there with you.
That truth offers stability in any storm.