This quarter, during our Sunday Fellowship at UCI, Irvine Christian Students has been focusing on a life of forbearance without anxiety. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we are living in a time of uncertainty, uneasiness, and worry. However, God does not desire for us to be anxious people, but instead to live a life of forbearance and peace through Christ.
Human life is a life of anxiety. There will always be circumstances in our personal lives and in the world around us that cause us to worry. Anxiety comes from Satan who is constantly trying to draw us away from God. If Satan is able to make us anxious, we cannot live a life of forbearance and thus cannot live a life that expresses Christ. A human life under Satan’s control is a life apart from God. But praise the Lord there is another life we can live: the Christian life!
The Christian life is a life that allows God to express Himself through us in all situations. Today as Christians who have Christ within us in our spirit, we can live a life of forbearance and peace. However, if God desires for His people to live in peace, we may wonder why He allows anxieties into our life. We can look to the Bible to find the answer.
In the Old Testament, Job outwardly had a great life and was a good person (Job 1:1-5). However, Job did not know God in a personal way. God allowed Satan to trouble him with many trying circumstances. It was through these situations that Job was able to surrender to God fully and turn to Him. Eventually, Job saw he needed to gain more of God. If Job would have continued to live a life free from difficulty, he would have never been able to pray these words to God seen in Job 42:5:
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye has seen You…”
In the same way, God allows and even assigns certain circumstances in our lives that cause us much pain. Just as a parent allows for their child to endure situations for the sake of their human growth, the Lord also uses difficulties in order that we may grow spiritually in Him. We must realize God is our loving Father who cares for us, and as His children we will always be within the safety of His hands. With this assurance in our hearts, we can live a life of forbearance and peace.
A life of forbearance is accomplished through prayer. When we turn to God in prayer, we contact Him and allow His life to infuse us. His life and peace allows us to endure troubling circumstances to live a life free from anxiety.
Philippians 4:6-7 tells us:
“In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, And the peace of God, which surpasses every man’s understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”
Because of this pandemic, I’ve lost my job, moved back home with my parents, adjusted to online learning, and been forced to find new ways to stay connected with my friends despite distance. My world as I knew it has shifted suddenly and completely. While I do wish my life could go back to normal at times, I would not trade this situation for anything. My eyes have been opened and my heart has turned utterly to Him. I’ve realized how much time and love I give to nearly everything except the Lord. With each day that passes, I come to know Him as my personal God who is near to me. I can testify that in these few weeks, the Lord has gained more of me than He ever could have gained before. I’ve learned to rely on His supply of grace in the midst of my situation through prayer. My hope is that we would not suffer through this time, but instead use this time as an opportunity to turn to the Lord and allow Him to gain us fully.
-DH, 3rd year, Political Science