Facing Life’s Challenges with a High View of God
By Terri Burroughs – BSF Board Member
What a year to study the book of Genesis! I saw God’s hand in every chapter as the world around me faced one crisis after another. We all know people who are still suffering, burdened by loss or struggling in their physical, mental or emotional health.
This past year, I watched my dear friend Mike say goodbye to his wife Mary after a prolonged illness. Gripped by grief and loss, this couple spent her final days on earth encouraging others toward the goal of Christ. They were determined to use every minute of her life for God’s glory.
As we worked our way through Genesis, I asked myself, “How do people like Mike and Mary come through the crises of life with a sense of peace, hope, and joy?” I’m not talking about stoicism or optimism, but those who confront the brutal facts of their reality without surrendering to defeat.
Digging into God’s Word
Take Joseph. How did he survive his brothers’ betrayal and go on to thrive despite the many years of enslavement and unjust imprisonment?
What was at the root of Abraham’s willingness to leave everything familiar to him? Or his readiness to sacrifice Isaac at God’s command?
What caused Job in the midst of life’s deepest loss to declare of God: “Though he slay me, yet I will trust in Him”? (Job 13:15)
Have you ever wondered why Peter got out of the boat when Jesus said “come,” even though it made no sense? (Matthew 14:28-29)
Are you humbled by our Lord Jesus Christ’s anguished choice to be obedient to God the Father even to the point of death? (Matthew 26:37-39)
The The Profound, Yet Simple Answer
In 2 Timothy 1:7-12, the apostle Paul described one of the characteristics these resilient people of God share.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. … I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
Paul had a high view of God. The same high view as Abraham, Joseph, Job, Peter and my friends, Mike and Mary.
So, if a high view of God enabled Abraham to pass the test and Paul to run the race victoriously, the question is, “How can you and I cultivate a view of God that enables us to stand firm and not be moved in impossible, exhausting, frustrating, hurtful and sometimes even dangerous situations?”
This passage teaches that our view of God influences our perspective, helps us to embrace God’s purposes and anchors the hope we have in the person of God.
As I learn from the people of God in my own life, their testimonies continually affirm these truths. Like the apostle, Paul they know the God in whom they believe. They recognize He alone is at the center of the universe.
They know that while there is nothing wrong with the questions “Who am I?” “What is my identity in Christ?” or “Why is this happening to me?” they must ask these questions within the context of “Who is God?”
A high view of God is about getting the order right. It’s about guarding against the circumstances, situations, people, places, things, and attitudes that can diminish our view of God.
When we believe and have confidence in God as the Creator and Sustainer of all, the Sovereign Lord of history, we shift our perspective from “me” to “He.”
Shaping our Confidence
As we approach life with a high view of God, everything begins with the person of Almighty God. He is our confidence!
Because God is sovereign and there is nothing outside of His will, we can trust that nothing is wasted in the lives of those in whom He reigns supreme.
Because God knows and deeply cherishes us, we can stand boldly before His throne where we will always find mercy and grace.
Because God is omnipresent, we can seek Him anywhere at any time. We never have to feel lonely.
Because God is omniscient; and His thoughts and actions are perfectly informed by perfect knowledge, we can trust Him.
Because God is the standard for what is good; and has given us a framework for living, we can approach life with clarity. We can act with integrity. We don’t have to react to the emotion or the circumstance.
Because God can transform all things, you and I can change. We are not limited by our past and can grow to our potential.
How can we walk through the disappointments, uncertainties, crises, and tragedies of life with a sense of hope, joy, peace, and confidence?
For my friends Mike and Mary, the answer is knowing God, clinging to His truths and embracing His purposes. Personally, my hope is believing His promises and trusting in His goodness, sovereignty, and power.
Through the Father in Genesis, the Son in Matthew, and the enduring gift of the Holy Spirit we find a firm foundation; an anchor to weather any storm.
BSF Board Member – Former Banking Executive
Terri Burroughs has been involved with BSF since 2007 where she served as an Administrative Leader, Group Leader and Teaching Leader for the Raleigh/Cary Evening Women’s Class; and as Area Advisor for BSF classes in Eastern N.C. and Myrtle Beach, S.C. In addition, Terri has served on the Global Advisory Council for BSF and worked with the Headquarters Training Team and BSF Leaders from around the world. In 2020 Terri joined the BSF Board of Directors.
Terri spent more than 20 years as a banking executive where she led business operations, human resources, and learning and development teams. She has been recognized for her work in developing and implementing performance improvement initiatives among diverse work groups and has consulted with corporations in measuring the return-on-investment (ROI) of these types of initiatives. Her work in this area has been featured in industry publications. She has also served on the Board of Visitors for UNC-Children’s Hospital.
Terri and her husband Terrence are active in their church. Their daughter Mattie is engaged to be married.