For more than seven years, I experienced deep concerns for one of my family members. I had agonized, prayed for, and stood in the gap for him. I have always believed, and still, do, that God has a good plan for my loved one's life.
About five years ago, things got better. It was evident that God was moving in his life and the challenging behaviors were changing. Months later, however, things suddenly took a downward turn and one incident seemed to cancel out the gains that were made.
Through this journey with my family member, there were lessons I learned that I would like to share this article. My prayer is that the insights I share will help you on your journey.
I learned two important lessons. The first is the critical need to extend love and compassion towards the person who is struggling. While this might sound easy, I must confess I sometimes found this extremely hard to do. Instead of a spirit of compassion, I sometimes reacted in anger and even resentment.
The second lesson was recognizing the need to separate the person from the influences that were trying to destroy his life. These same forces were also constantly trying to influence my behavior and attitude towards my loved one in a negative way.
I continue to learn that I need to manifest the love of God to the person who so desperately needs it. The Bible declares, "love is patient, love is kind... it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Corinthians 13: 4-5, NIV).
I learned to speak words of affirmations and encouragement in my loved one's life. I declared God's divine intention and destiny for the person instead of focusing on the negative behaviors. This broke the power of the enemy over his life.
How Do We Know We Are Trusting God?
In difficult situations as I experience with my loved one, how did I know I was trusting God? I must confess that there were times I was consumed with doubt and got caught in the cycle of blame and negative emotions that set me up to reap a harvest of negativity (Luke 6:38) and led to more suffering and pain.
But I have always found my way back through the grace and unconditional love of my Father. As I submitted to him, he empowered me to bounce back and stand in my authority as a believer. I was able to resist the evil that was at work seeking to destroy my loved one and my family (James 4:7, Luke 10:19).
The Scriptures encourages us to "trust in the Lord with all your heart ..." (Proverbs 3: 5a). Dr Creflo Dollar defines trust as the total reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, and surety of God. In the YouTube video below Pastor Dollar explains that our trust in God is reflected in our thanksgiving and gratitude.
For the Christian believers, trust is based on the completed work of Jesus, his gift of salvation, through grace. We receive his gift of answered prayers by faith and not based on our own self-effort. (Read Ephesians 2:8-9).