When difficulties come our way, we can be sure that our teens are watching us — and listening to how we respond. Whether we intend our response patterns to be training them, they probably are. Before our coping mechanisms and words come to the surface, though, our thoughts are well formed (Luke 6:45). In Part 1, we introduced the idea that we don’t have to wait until we’re in the deep waters of a major crisis to grow those qualities in our lives — in fact, if we do, we’ll probably be in over our heads.
When Your Worst-Case-Scenario Actually Happens
How often have you told a close friend about a potentially difficult situation you have coming up, only to have them say something like, “I hope it goes okay,” or “I’ll be praying that it turns out the way you want”? We probably tell our friends that, too. And our kids. And there is biblical basis for that. Psalm 20:4 models such a blessing: “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”
But you know what else I think we need to hear and tell our friends and our kids? “If it doesn’t turn out well for you, I know God is still on the throne, and you’ll still be faithful.” Maybe we’d rather not even think about the possibility, but living in denial doesn’t help us grow.
At the same time, just like the futility of asking the “Why?” question, our deceitful hearts typically spend way too much time worrying about “What if?” A more helpful place to focus our hearts is on our resolve: We can be resolved to honor God and love others, “Even if” our fears are realized.
Models of Resolve in the Face of Difficulty
That phrase “even if” is used in the biblical account of a prophet who had it pretty rough. He was serving Israel during a time when God said He would judge the nation of Israel at the hands of a far more wicked nation. Habakkuk pleads with God to spare his people and argues on their behalf. God firmly tells him that what He has said will happen, though. Habakkuk’s response, at the end of the short book bearing his name, is that he will continue to worship and obey God, “even if” all that he fears actually comes true (Habakkuk 3:13).
While we don’t get to read much about Habakkuk’s history of nurturing such resolve, we do read about that of other people in Scripture. Take Job, for example; he “made a covenant with his eyes” about lust (Job 31:1); it wouldn’t be a far reach to imagine that he also would have been resolute about persevering during difficulties, the same way Habakkuk did.
It seems that Joseph must have made a similar resolution against sexual immorality. While a lustful look may seem unrelated to buckling under the pressure of intense trials, it seems perhaps the two are related. The same kind of discipline and resolve we use in one kind of difficulty can certainly help prepare us for another.
Feel like this whole idea of a resolution is a bit daunting? No worries. In our next article in this series, we’re going to look at establishing a support system.