Have you ever received news that bored a deep hole in your heart and made your hope for a solution fade? When you felt totally on your own, alienated from God, adrift on an ocean of despair? No doubt you have faced many situations when the tides of opportunity turned against you.

There is good news. In my experience, God has never abandoned anyone to overcome the odds stacked against them by their own feeble efforts and resources.

Our daughter, Sarah, has been a substitute teacher in Halifax for five years since graduating from university. She has worked hard in her short career and has been blessed to get some great days of work, enough to help meet her obligations, but she needs the stability of permanent employment. She wants to put down roots in the career to which God has called her—to teach and prepare high-school students for a changing world. When Sarah applied for a long-term position with the school board, she asked us to pray for her.

When faced with adversity, my first suggestion is to count your blessings. St. Paul said: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12). That's coming from a saint of God who was abandoned, shipwrecked, beaten, jailed and persecuted because of his abiding faith in God. Paul would not abandon hope that God would see him through, no matter how the enemy tried to hammer him.

My second suggestion is to call someone you know who takes prayer seriously and ask them to bring your needs and petitions before the Lord.

There are many powerful examples in Scripture of how prayer changes things. Let's look at a story from Isaiah 37, when Sennacherib, the brutal king of Assyria, sent a letter to King Hezekiah of Judah telling him that Jerusalem, like all his other conquests, would be destroyed. Hezekiah knew that Sennacherib was serious and had the resources to do what he said. This was a major crisis and Hezekiah faced the most daunting challenge of his life.

What did he do? He went to the house of the Lord, spread out the letter and prayed. “O Lord our God, save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord” (Isaiah 37:20 NRSV).

God's answer came from the prophet Isaiah: “Because you prayed,” he told Hezekiah, “the Lord has spoken” (see Isaiah 37:21-22).The enemy was destroyed that night before setting one foot into the city.

My third suggestion is to remember Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Coming back to Sarah, her mother and I brought her needs before the Lord in prayer, thanking him for his past blessings. We had faith that God was going to answer, so we left our petitions with him. Although the result was initially disappointing—the job was re-advertised—we did not give up hope. As I write this article, Sarah and her family await the final decision.

In times like these, we need to trust God unswervingly. I am convinced that we who are on a journey of faith will never be abandoned or left on our own, despite the challenges we face. God promises us his presence in all the valleys in which we find ourselves.

In The Salvation Army, we sing a wonderful song: “When we reach the end of our hoarded resources, our Father's full giving is only begun.”

Although I don't know the outcome of our petition, I have brought it before the Lord and he, who sees the whole picture, knows what is best for our children—and for every one of you who put your faith in a loving God. He can be trusted.

What daunting challenge do you face today? Bring your requests before the Lord and await the results in faith.

Fred Jeffery is a retired school administrator and a member of Westville Corps, N.S., in the Maritime Division.

Reprinted from New Glasgow News.

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