Here recently I have found myself contemplating the emotional, spiritual and physical battles that friends, family, and even myself have been experiencing. It feels like there has been an overwhelming amount of grief, death and health issues. We seem to all be connected in our personal experience or relationship to others who are suffering. It is unclear if there is just more heaviness than normal, or if it’s just that our coping mechanisms that normally distract us from the heaviness have been stripped away, forcing us to face our circumstances differently.
Regardless of which one it is, I noticed that it is really taking a toll on people. If you are wrestling with grief, navigating health issues, on the verge of financial crisis, overwhelmed with fear, at the mercy of anxiety or weighed down by depression, there’s comfort in the promises of God. This does not negate seeking professional or medical help as you need it. However, know that being in those spaces does not negate your faith nor your belief in God. Know that you can be very disappointed, deeply hurt, experiencing pain and still know that God has joy and abundant life for you.
In the midst of hardship, you can still lay claim to an abundant life full of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, even though you may experience moments of extreme discomfort or sadness, the fruit of fallen humanity. I can have moments of affliction and times of chaos where I feel unsettled. There are moments when I struggle and wonder if I need to seek help or if the situation will pass, and even in the middle of chaos, uncertainty and feeling unsettled, I can still lay claim to the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
Ephesians 6 tells us that we don't wrestle against flesh and blood, but we fight spiritual battles. However, that does not mean that we don't wrestle IN the flesh. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I live this life by faith in Jesus who gave himself up for me, but I live it in the flesh.” This means that even while living in the reality of being seated in heavenly places, I can, and I will, still experience walking in earthly pain.
If you are there, you may feel as if living in those dual realities seems like they are in opposition to each other, but they are not. That is the reality of the nature of being a spiritual being and still living life in the flesh. If you're not there, and you're trying to encourage someone, be vigilant with the truth of God. God’s truth is indeed great, and we can cast all our cares on Him. He tells us, be anxious for nothing, don't have a spirit of fear and that He is the resurrection and the life. All these things are true, and they are things that help us navigate the battle.
The diligence is on us to make sure that we are not presenting those truths in a way that compels people to think if we prayed harder, read more scripture and claimed this truth that we can avoid unpleasant experiences in life. That's just not reality.
There are going to be things that we experience deeply, and as we pass through those moments there is comfort in knowing that we don’t have to be governed by fear, sadness, nor sickness. Those things don't regulate our lives, even though they are still realities that we must walk through. We just need to be encouraged and reminded that we can walk in those realities and still believe in the joy, peace and the hope of God. If you're encouraging people amid their sadness or fear, remind them that where they are is temporary without negating their current situation. We have a greater and stronger reality that governs us. We just have to be careful, whether we're in that place ourselves, or encouraging someone in that place, to know that living in conflicting places is just a part of the human life that we are living.
Jada Edwards is a Bible teacher and discipler. She has committed her life to equipping women of all ages, at all stages, with practical, biblical truth to help them live authentic and transparent lives. Jada has always had a passion for ministry and sharing God's Word and has also served in various directional capacities within the local church as well as with numerous non-profit organizations. Jada currently serves as the Creative Services Director and the Women's Director for One Community Church, where her husband Conway serves as the Lead Pastor. Jada and Conway are parents to Joah (2nd) and Chloe.