Spotlight 14/2018: Remaining faithful even in difficult times

What can we do when things become difficult? Bury our head in the sand? Give up? Or even break with God? District Apostle Jürg Zbinden from Switzerland advises us to hold on to our faith no matter what.

Recently I was at the airport in Vienna (Austria). I had to catch a connecting flight and rushed to the gate. Just as I got there I heard an announcement saying that the flight had been cancelled because of technical problems. Many thoughts went through my mind: next time I am going to book with another airline; why does this have to happen to me, and so on. But eventually I calmed down and my customer loyalty got the better of me, and I told myself: “Oh well, things like this don’t happen too often. The same thing can happen with other airlines. And actually, I am quite happy with this airline.”

Now, before anyone criticises me for my idleness or for a lack of alternatives—which was not the case here—let me just mention that this is only a small story from everyday life. In our personal life of faith or in the congregation we face similar situations. Mistakes are made, things don’t go as planned, God allows the one or other thing, and we ask ourselves: why me? And before we know it we are ready to break with God.

In Psalm 73: 23–24 it says: “Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” This is a wonderful description of mutual trust. Trust is not something instantaneous, but the result of a relationship that has grown over a long time.

If we see things correctly, then being disappointed by God means that our thinking was faulty in the first place. Example: the disciples who left Jesus because of His seemingly hard words (John 6: 60 et seq). They had misunderstood Him and were offended.

I often speak with sisters and brothers who are in very difficult and even desperate situations (illness, economic difficulties) and who, despite everything, can say with conviction: “I will not give up my faith, but remain faithful to the Lord!” Only recently, a young brother suffering from terminal cancer told me: “I trust God. He always does things right.” We looked into each other’s eyes and hugged each other under tears.

What this teaches us: if our trust in God is based on our experience of divine love, a solid faith, and deep insight then it cannot be destroyed.

Trust is part of the nature of the triune God. As His children, we also have this characteristic trait.

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Jürg Zbinden
District Apostle, motto