Maintaining Faith During Hard Times
By Charles Glassman, MD , FACP – CoachMD
You may know how this story ends that goes something like this: Joe stood on his roof as the waters rose. The first boat came by and the captain yelled, “Joe, hop in.” Joe yelled back, No, it’s okay God will save me.” The waters continued to rise now covering his entire house and at his feet. A second boat passed and the occupants yelled, “Joe, our friend, hop in.” Joe retorted, “You go on, God will save me.” Water now up to his chin, a helicopter hovered over dropping a rope, “Joe shook his head upward, and muttered, “it’s okay, God will save me.” Joe drowned. In heaven, Joe angrily confronted God with, “I thought you were going to save me. God replied, “What did you want me to do, I sent 2 boats and a helicopter!”
Here, I will be talking about important steps you can take to maintain spiritual strength and faith despite hard times.
Some of you have experienced and most of you have seen the horrific effect of natural disasters. Recently, tornadoes that besieged the US and especially Moore, Oklahoma wiped out the lives of many. In late 2012, Super Storm Sandy decimated the east coast and along with it the dreams and lives of many.
But despite the awesome power of the EF-5 tornado that hit the town of Moore and the devastation it caused, the death toll was relatively low. As insensitive as that may sound, one reason for this is that those in this town took life-saving precautions such as following instructions from experts and building more shelters. No one could ever have imagined the power of Super Storm Sandy, but those who survived, did so because they followed instructions to evacuate. Similarly, in Hurricane Katrina the surviving residents of New Orleans (a city 6 feet below sea level), listened to the voices of reason when told to evacuate.
Now consider this, you see loved ones die and you feel really, really sad. “How could this happen?” You ask. “He died way before his time.” But, what if when we die it is our time? Really, he died before you were ready for him to die. That’s hard, I know, but listen to how you might maintain and maybe even strengthen your faith amidst sadness, hardship, stress,tragedy.
- Meditate Some say prayer is when you talk to God; meditation is when God talks to you. Listen to hear what God has to say. Even if you do not believe in a divine force, you possess an inner voice waiting to be heard, to guide you.
- Bond with friends or join a support group look for ways that you can apply your gifts and strengths to help someone else.
- If your neighborhood has been beset with destruction take a break and go to a place where you can be part of nature,observe the life and peace that still goes on despite your loss or hardship.
- Begin to think of practical interventions to help protect you from further tragedy.
- As soon as possible, get back to your life. It may look very different than before and will never be the same, but as long as you are alive, you must live.
- Tune into the news, only to get updates on important information. Don’t dwell there.
- As much as possible, listen to music. Avoid music that causes you to reminisce.
- Don’t replay the past. No thoughts or actions now will change anything that happened. All you can do is live today by placing your back up against the past and wrap your arms around the future. Embrace the unknown and don’t trust the fear.
Practiced daily, these important steps will help to revitalize your faith and give you the strength to carry on and create a future full of hope, possibility, and wonder.
He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Brain Drain, which helps explain and fix self-sabotage. It is the winner of the 2011 Independent Publisher's Award and 2011 Eric Hoffer Award as the best Self-Help and Health book, 2010 Pinnacle Book Award for best Self-Help Book, and 2009 LA Book Festival Best Spirituality Book.
To new subscribers on his website, he is now offering his free, new EBook, Destiny Diet. Weekly, Dr. Glassman hosts Medicine on the Cutting Edge, which gives a voice to pioneers in medical research and development. Dr. Glassman lives with his family in Rockland County, NY.
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