The Blessings of Conflict
Our instinct is often to doubt, and worry is essentially doubting God's ability or desire to help.
The Hall of Fame
Individuals who achieve significant accomplishments in sports, music, acting, or academics may be honored by being inducted into the Hall of Fame, a privilege reserved for those with exceptional skills and achievements.
In contrast, the Bible does not feature a Hall of Fame, but Paul does describe something that resembles a Hall of Faith. While the world celebrates human achievements, the Bible focuses on what can be achieved when individuals cooperate with God. The Hall of Faith consists of individuals who live by faith and have allowed God to work in them to such a point where they are “anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make their request known to God” (Phil. 4:6).
How Faith Grows
The kind of faith described above usually emerges through conflict, when one encounters situations requiring total dependence on God.
Active, living faith navigates us to the intersection of God’s promises and life's realities, particularly during traumatic and challenging circumstances. In our journey, we have the privilege of experiencing joy, peace, satisfaction, and contentment radiating from God’s presence.
It is by facing trials that our faith can grow to maturity, this is why we are encouraged to consider it a joy to face trials, “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience,” and once the work of patience is complete, we will attain maturity in faith, “lacking nothing” (See James 1:2-4).
How do we relate to disappointment, contention, and other types of conflict in the church especially when it gets personal?
How do we respond when dealing with leaders in the workplace or church who insist on their own way? How do we cope with challenging situations like serious illness, the unexpected death of a loved one, job loss, or being taken advantage of?
Whatever the reasons that cause conflict, we tend to migrate to those who sympathize or agree with us. Often nursing our own hurts and rehearsing grievances, we refuse to consider that although God may not have approved the method, He did allow it. If we continue to struggle with the outcome and rehearse and meditate on “if only” he or she had done “this or that” the situation would have been different, then we will find ourselves on a spiral journey downward into blame, depression, doubt, bitterness and unconsciously condemning God for not protecting us from the source of our pain. All that leads to weakening our relationship with God.
Satisfaction and contentment, regardless of circumstances, doesn’t come naturally or by chance. They are developed through experience. As Paul states in Philippians 4:11, he learned to be content in any situation. Trusting God in the face of seemingly impossible situations is not an accidental development. It’s cultivated over time.
Paul also said, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The battle for victory takes place in our minds. Our thoughts guide our responses in life. As Proverbs 23:7 suggests, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” This process involves choosing what we will dwell upon. Refusing to meditate on negative thoughts requires divine assistance. Psalms 91:1 says that “he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High abides under the shadow of the Almighty.” God invites us to reason together with Him in that secret place where we do our thinking. Here is where God infuses divine power to transform our minds. Then our focus shifts from personal hurts to trusting God, seeking His wisdom and guidance for the future.
Our instinct is often to doubt, and worry is essentially doubting God’s ability or desire to help. We are counseled to communicate our needs and entrust all our cares to God. The peace that emanates from God will guard our emotions and thoughts. The original Greek text where this thought is taken from implies that this peace safeguards our hearts like a squad of soldiers guarding a town.
When we choose to reject negative thoughts and accept whatever has occurred, regardless of its unfairness, trusting God to bring good out of the horrible and painful situation, God will then uplift and sustain us, granting us peace and purpose. This difficult experience draws us closer to God, contributing to the transformation of our character.
Our perception of God greatly influences our response to conflict. Even without full understanding of a situation, we must acknowledge God’s supreme authority and believe that, even though He did not orchestrate the events, He will turn Satan’s plans into a blessing. God promises to not let us face trials beyond our capacity and always considers our best interests when allowing certain experiences in our lives.
We understand that God has promised to transform every negative action of the devil into something positive in our preparation for heaven. If we know that the conflict we face could act as a catalyst in preparing us or our family for heaven, would we wish God prevented it? I believe that we would do everything within our power to ensure our family would be in heaven, even at the cost of our own life on earth.
God’s plan has already considered the freewill choices of both angels and humans. While He doesn’t override the freewill of anyone, He still brings His plans into fruition. Nothing can remove us from God’s ultimate plan; thus, anything that happens to us has been considered and allowed by Him. Understanding and accepting God’s plan allows us to rest in complete trust, knowing God will bring good out of whatever dire situation we face. Praying “Thy will be done” is challenging, as it means surrendering our will to God and accepting His will, even when it contradicts ours.
The best place to be is “under the shadow of the Almighty.” I believe with all my heart that God is preparing us to be a mighty force in this world’s final events. Friend, God wants to use you, too. If you are experiencing one of the fiery trials of life right now, I encourage you to stop trying to analyze how or why you’re in your current situation. Instead, trust in the Lord and pray for those who have hurt you and your family. Focus on the future and the imminent return of Christ. Ask God to instill in you a willingness to accept His plan for your life, to reveal it, and empower you to follow it. Pray for Him to continue transforming you into His image. God can use you as a source of inspiration, strength, and encouragement to your family and your wider community. In this world of conflict, I praise the Lord that we are in the hands of God.