By Anesia O. Baptiste
These are undoubtedly challenging times in our world and country. Many are facing seemingly insurmountable problems. It is easy to lay blame, but I have often had to just talk with people and in my dealings with them throughout our country, I have often had to share these words:
- 1. I know things are hard but please remember that hard does not mean impossible. Have a mind-set of possibility and not defeat. This will help you to continue day to day with vigour to keep trying, despite how hard things are for you. And as Jesus reminds you “…the things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” — Luke 18:26
- 2. Be realistic and willing to make adjustments. Have you lost your job? Have you lost the only loved one who provided? Have you been brought low? Do you struggle to make ends meet? Your utilities have been cut? You can’t even send your children to school? There is the tendency to think that your life is over. Accept your reality and look rationally at what you can do to manage while you try to improve your situation. Sell the vehicle if you must. Go to the land and plant food, if you can and if you must. Be willing to accept what you may have before considered as a menial job because as long as it is honest there is absolutely no shame in doing all that you can to provide for yourself and meet your obligations. Please do not be bothered so much with what people will say. Whatever you do, do not try to be what you are not or to give in to people’s expectations of you.
- Be content and do not waste. Learn to pinch what you have and make less do where you can. Take care of what you have so that it may last long and reduce your need to replace it sooner. If you have children you must explain to them why they cannot have this or that anymore. Do not be ruled by their demands for things that are unnecessary. You are the parent and they are the children, not the other way around. Many of our parents and grandparents made it in their time, to give us good upbringing with very little and simple living. Who says you cannot do the same today? Yes, you can. As Paul said: “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”. — Philippians 4:11
- Be persistent and never give up! Often you lament your lack of success in something, whether it is in trying to find a job, trying to source some assistance or such like. What I have found many times in speaking with you is that you gave up after a few times of trying. You must be persistent and push. Keep going back, keep checking, follow up and never give up. Just when you think you should stop trying because it doesn’t make sense or because you feel humiliated, sometimes that is the time you will have a break through. And as my personal motto goes “Never give up. The toil for success breeds success”. So keep trying something and keep doing something. Remember the parable of the persistent widow and the judge? Read it in Luke 18:1-8
- Be thankful, trust in God and be hopeful. Despite everything, count your “blessings” however little or seemingly insignificant and have an attitude of gratitude. Things may be so bad with you that you cannot imagine having anything for which to be thankful but don’t you have life? Where there is life there is opportunity. Be thankful to God and this attitude will give you cheer and comfort in the midst of your difficulties. I encourage you to trust in God and have hope because of this. What he says he can and will do, he will do as you fulfil the relevant conditions of repentance of sins and believing in him. Also, you must not lose hope. Hope is your survival-that mental expectation of success by depending on a superior to give you an expected end. We live because of hope. Without it we would die. So, whatever may happen, let nothing and nobody cause you to stop hoping. “In every thing give thanks…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart…” Proverbs 3:5, And we learn of Abraham who “…against hope believed in hope…” Romans 4: 18
- Be not anxious about anything but take things one day at a time. Worrying never makes anything better. It neither adds one more dollar to your pocket, pays no bill, nor would it find you that job. Worrying is thinking about a problem in your mind over and over, thinking of the difficulty of the thing and your inability to handle it. Frankly, this will drive you crazy. It only makes the situation appear even more difficult than it is because you are turning it over and over in your mind. In reality, the situation is usually less troublesome. Do what you can do. Take it moment by moment and one day at a time. We have enough evil in the day the bible says and worrying will only drive you to do wrong things to try to alleviate your problem and create more evil. You cannot fix next month’s problem by worrying about it this month. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” Matthew 6:33
I pray these thoughts help you along life’s way. I am sorry about your sufferings. However, regardless of whom you are and your circumstances, Jesus loves you and wishes good things for you. Seek him and his righteousness, turn to him away from your sins and let his words teach you how to live and cope in these troublesome times. Amen.