Refining Life, on Purpose

How to Find God When Your Tunnel Suddenly Darkens

How do we find God when “stuff” happens? Look to prayer and wisdom for keeping our focus, faith and fortitude when navigating suddenly darkened chasms.

The ways we find God is a common theme or trope throughout book, film, television and story in general. Ever notice it’s almost always through tragedy or struggle? You know, some sort of hardship? Though I bet it does happen, I am doubting many people find God immediately after winning a major lottery. And I’m betting that few people find God as they are being rewarded for landing a big deal or seeing a major project to successful completion.

In fact, it’s usually after those things are lost that we find God. Tragedy and bad luck, though, are not guarantees you will find God. Even worse, many who already know God will lose their way – feeling as those God has left them – as a result.

The question we must ask and answer, then, is how do we find God when “stuff” happens?

Today’s post is intended to help us do that. In so doing, I am drawing upon a passage of Knowing God where J.I. Packer references one of my favorite books, Ecclesiastes:

Seek grace to work hard at whatever life calls you to do (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Leave to God its issues; let him measure its ultimate worth; your part is to use all the good sense and enterprise at your command in exploiting the opportunities that lie before you. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6)

Find God in Your Focus

The work we do is more than our jobs or careers. It goes beyond what we do for wages. Our work is the impact we provide while we are here and the legacy we leave when we are gone. In short, it is our calling and purpose.

Many people don’t find God during their life or during their struggles. Just as many – perhaps more – don’t find their purpose in life. I believe it’s because they never align their work with their reason for being. Rather than doing passion-filled work that is of value, they wrap themselves in doing what they must do to simply survive. To make ends meet and to provide for their families.

Outside of the 9-5, though, there is what goes on when we are not earning our wages. That, too, is work. It’s just of a different sort. You see, Ecclesiastes also tells us to thwart laziness and complacency (18). If we are to live for bringing God glory, we are to focus our passion into our work, at all times. That’s because our work, especially within the seemingly insignificant things we do, is developing our character for a time of greater desires.

Grow where you are planted… focus your time, talent, energy on serving the purposes of God in whatever you do..

Find God in Your Faith

Staying faithful is one of the most obvious requirements of serving God during times of adversity and struggle. It’s also true in times of discouragement and disappointment. We have to ask it: How do we stay faithful in times where is seems God has not been so?

This is probably one of the hardest concepts for any of us to consider. It’s especially difficult to answer when others ask it of us. The simple fact, though, is that there are some things that God intends to keep a mystery – either for a short period or until the day we are called home.

It doesn’t mean he’s abandoned us or that we will never find God. Rather, it means we’re to apply the wisdom he grants and seek guidance through the darkened tunnels that become our lives.

How do we find God when “stuff” happens?  Look to prayer and wisdom for keeping our focus, faith and fortitude when navigating suddenly darkened chasms.

How do we find God when “stuff” happens? Look to prayer and wisdom for keeping our focus, faith and fortitude when navigating suddenly darkened chasms.

Find God in Your Fortitude

I have no doubt that God is always at work. Even as our lives are being shattered, God is hard at work painting an amazing new picture. As one window closes, a new door may be opened. Or, God just may be setting up a new domino for you to later knock over and start a chain reaction of awesome blessing.

In God’s timing and favor, you gain a new path. You get to enter through that doorway or push that first domino.

Your focus will help you see the remaining light when your vibrant tunnel suddenly darkens. Likewise, your faith will keep you moving toward it when it seems like darkness has consumed you. Collectively, they become your fortitude.

Stay strong in the faith, my dear brothers and sisters. Be on the ready for a new door to open as you navigate the chasms of life’s adversities. Your struggles are not in vain and God has not left you.

There’s an amazing road ahead.

About Chad Gramling

Chad Gramling makes his home in Indiana with his wife and three daughters. He's the founder and primary blogger at 1Glories, a vision cast onto his heart and detailed in Listen Up Kids: Foolish Dreams, Syncing with God & Running to Win.