Fight or Flee?
When you go through hard times, how do you respond? Of course, the situation will influence how you react, but trials are a time when our true beliefs are sifted out. We were created with a natural sense to “fight or flee” when danger comes. Sometimes we vacillate between both of these. Is there something difficult that you are walking through right now? How are you responding to it?
The apostle John had the unique experience of seeing a prophetic picture of what the end times will be like. During this vision, God gives an evaluation of the seven churches on earth (Revelation 2 and 3). There is debate over the “who, what, where, and when” of these churches, but let us look at the content to learn about the heart condition of the believers. We can see that they are all going through great persecution and trials. Some will be denied employment, food, housing, land, etc. due to persecution for their faith and thus experience poverty. Others will constantly battle false teachers in the church. One church is warned that they will be put in prison and even some will be tortured and die. There are many places today where brothers and sisters are suffering in this same way. Do not forget to often pray for them. To all of us, the Lord exhorts us to “endure hardships and not grow weary;” “be faithful even to the point of death,” “endure patiently,” “do not be afraid of suffering,” “hold on to what you have so no one can take your crown,” “be earnest,” and “overcome the trials” (taken from Revelation 2 and 3).
What we believe deep in our souls about God will impact how we respond to suffering. Our past relationships with our earthly father, past traumas or painful situations, beliefs we have developed about ourselves, God, and this world over the years, and others’ influence as they evaluate our circumstances, all have a bearing on our reactions in times of trouble. Therefore, it is critical that when we walk through trials, we evaluate what our responses tell us about our deep beliefs in God and our relationship to Him. Then we need to run to the Word of God to see what is actually true. “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Ask the Lord to fill you with faith to believe His Word over your feelings or “logical conclusions” about your current experiences. Keep in mind what the Lord says about our evaluation of our circumstances: '"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts'"(Isaiah 55:8-9).