Staying Positive in Stressful Times
Brother Richie Juatco: The recent pandemic that the world experienced has heightened people’s awareness to maintain good health. Now, while the virus might not have affected everyone’s physical health, the stress that it brought about affected almost everyone’s mental health—along with social issues, increased violence, and natural disasters—to make matters worse. Everyone is stressed out these days, and the generation of young people trying to establish themselves during these times is the most stressed-out group.
Stay with us and we will study this topic today on The Message.
Brother Richie: Hello. I’m Brother Richie Juatco, and with me here in our studios in the San Francisco Bay area is Brother Bernard Daos. Hi, Brother Bernard!
Brother Bernard Daos: Hello, Brother Richie! It can be extremely frustrating when unavoidable situations force our plans to be altered. Many people who experience these failures or frustrations are not able to properly cope, so they fall even deeper into depression and other mental health issues. Now, we can never eliminate suffering, so the best thing to do is learn how to handle these situations properly. So what should we understand if we are going through challenging times?
Brother Richie: So, Brother Bernard, we’ll get our answers, always, from the Holy Scriptures. We’ll turn to I Peter, and we’ll read what is recorded in 4:12 and it says this:
My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you.
[1 Peter 4:12 Good News Bible]
Brother Richie: According to the Bible, we should not, it says, “do not be surprised at the painful tests you are suffering…” Now, what does that mean, “do not be surprised?” Well, it clarifies, “as though something unusual were happening to you.” Therefore, we should understand that it’s something to be expected, normal even. That in itself should relieve some stress to know that having to handle all these troubles, it’s not out of the ordinary.
Brother Bernard: But Brother Richie, what if we ask, why are the troubles that we are experiencing today something to be expected?
Brother Richie: Well, that’s a good follow-up question. We’ll read a follow-up answer from the Bible from what’s recorded in Job 5:7. This is what it says:
Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.
[Job 5:7 New International Version]
Brother Richie: The biblical truth is actually that we are, it says, “born to trouble.” How sure is that? The Bible says, “as surely as sparks fly upward.”
How should you feel when your faith is tested?
Brother Bernard: So, if we can’t avoid these troubles that will test our patience and more importantly, test our faith in God, what should we understand about these difficulties?
Brother Richie: We’ll read our answer from the Bible here in I Corinthians 10:13. And this is what we can read:
We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously.
[1 Corinthians 10:13 The Passion Translation]
Brother Richie: Now, it would be quite unfair to give us a test we have no capability of passing, but the Bible actually tells us that God “will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial” we face so that we can bear it. Now, how do we know God will do this for us? Well, the Bible says that “God will be faithful to you.” God will be faithful. What if one feels, “Oh, I’ve tried everything and I can’t see a way out of the stressful situation.” The Bible is the one that says that “along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously.” Therefore, how should we consider the tests in life? We should consider it as each test is an opportunity to trust God even more.
Brother Bernard: Brother Richie, since God will never allow us to experience tests or trials that we can’t handle, what’s the mindset we need to have to help us stay positive even during those times of trouble?
Brother Richie: The proper mindset, even if things might seem impossible to overcome or fix, this is what we should know, here, in Romans 8:28. It says:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
[Romans 8:28 New International Version]
Brother Richie: This is what we should fully believe in. What is it? The Bible says “that in all things, God works for the good.” Is this situation for everyone in the world? The Bible specifies it says this is for “those who love him…”
Brother Bernard: Well, that’s why, Brother Richie, we want to remind our viewers what we have learned in our other episodes: the biblical definition of love for God. We bring this up because we know that it is very easy for just anyone to say they love God, but in I John 5:3, the Bible teaches us that love for God means that we obey His commands.
Brother Richie: That’s correct, Brother Bernard! And who are the ones that obey God’s commands because they truly love Him? Now, if we go back to the verse, it says, they are those “who have been called according to his purpose.” So, God Himself calls people to His purpose. Now that purpose is obeying and loving Him, and in all things God works for the good of them, for the good of those who love Him. But, Brother Bernard, we ask this: if God is going to call them to His purpose, where is He calling them?
Brother Bernard: Well, Brother Richie, for the answer, let’s turn again to the Holy Scriptures. In the Book of Colossians, chapter 3 and the verse that I will read is verse 15:
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
[Colossians 3:15 New King James Version]
Brother Bernard: According to what we read, those called by God, according to His purpose, are “called in one body.” So all those called by God can be identified. It’s not merely a feeling [or] a personal belief, but they are actually together in only one body.
Brother Richie: Brother Bernard, what body is being referred to? Whose body are they called in?
Brother Bernard: Well, let’s again turn to the Holy Scriptures. This time in the book of Ephesians, chapter 5:23:
For a husband is in charge of his wife in the same way Christ is in charge of his body the Church. (He gave his very life to take care of it and be its Savior!)
[Ephesians 5:23 The Living Bible]
Brother Bernard: Now, we know that the Bible is not referring, Brother Richie, to our Lord Jesus Christ’s physical body. So what is the one body of Christ that God will call people into? The Bible teaches that “Christ is in charge of His body the Church.” Thus, the one body that God calls people into is the one biblical Church. The one body that God calls people into, according to His purpose, is the body of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is the Lord Jesus Christ’s body because He is the one whom God appointed as Savior as we can read in Acts 5:31.
Brother Richie: Now, what does the Bible call the one Church, which is the body of our Lord Jesus Christ?
Brother Bernard: Well, let’s ask the Apostles, as they record here in the Book of Acts 20:28. This is what it states:
Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.
[Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation]
Brother Bernard: The one Church where God calls people, which is the body of the Lord Jesus Christ, is “the church of Christ”. Remember, for those called inside the biblical Church Of Christ, God will use all things for their good.
Brother Richie: Now, Brother Bernard, is there any teaching in the Bible that if one becomes a member of the genuine Church Of Christ, well, they no longer have to experience painful problems or have to struggle with the stress or even depressing situations?
Brother Bernard: Well, Brother Richie, not at all! On the contrary, the Bible forewarns that those who do obey God, those who do join the true Church Of Christ and follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, for sure, they will experience tests and trials in the world.
Brother Richie: So what is the comfort of being called inside the Church if one is still going to experience distress at times?
Brother Bernard: Well, let’s take comfort from what the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, had taught here in the book of John 16:33. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ says:
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
[John 16:33 Amplified Bible]
Brother Bernard: So, what’s the advantage of being in His body or the Church of Christ? The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said that in Him “you may have [perfect] peace and confidence.”
Brother Richie: How are those in Christ perfectly peaceful and confident if this world still brings distress and problems and frustrations?
Brother Bernard: Well, the Lord Jesus Christ answered, “I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of the power to harm you and have conquered it for you.” Therefore, because the Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior of those in His Church, no matter how bad their situation might feel, and even if they end up losing their life, if they follow His example He will grant them salvation or life eternal. So, notice the instruction He gives to those in Him. He says: “be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]!” So, we should have faith in what the Lord Jesus Christ has done and will do, to keep our mentality strong.
So how should we view trials and sufferings? The Bible says to take courage. But, Brother Richie, what if the problems don’t stop coming?
Brother Richie: That’s a good question, Brother Bernard, because we know probably 100% of those watching, even after they watch this program, they’re still going to have problems. So, how should we view this to handle them properly? We’ll read in 1 Peter 6:7, and this is what the Bible says:
Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.
[1 Peter 6:7 Today’s English Version]
What is God’s purpose for me when I experience trials?
Brother Richie: According to the Bible, what is the purpose of these trials in our life? The Bible says, “Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine.”
Brother Bernard: But, Brother Richie, why isn’t it enough just to say we have faith? Why do we need to prove our faith through the trials that we go through?
Brother Richie: Well, the Bible says, “Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested…” And there are people we know [who are] satisfied with the appearance of possessing gold, such as gold-plated objects. But the Bible says “gold… is tested by fire”. Fake gold cannot withstand the intense heat of a fire. But the real gold, the real gold will remain.
Brother Bernard: But, Brother Richie, what does this have to do with our faith?
Brother Richie: Well, the Bible says that “your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested,” Now, what will be used to test our faith? No, it’s not literal fire, but as we read, “the many kinds of trials that [we] suffer.” Now, how will genuine faith react in the face of trials? It says, “it may endure.” So someone with real, genuine faith will keep obeying God during painful tests.
What is the reward for endurance? The Bible says, “Then you will receive praise and glory and honor. On the day when Jesus Christ is revealed.” That’s why the Bible says, “Be glad” even though you are currently suffering trials.
Brother Bernard: That’s why if anyone who is watching this, who may be struggling with mental health and severe stress, we hope that the words written in the Bible will give you another perspective on how to view the things that you’re dealing with and going through.
Brother Richie: And as we mentioned earlier, we understand and realize that many are going through difficult times, trying to keep a proper outlook on life. We don’t want to minimize anyone’s struggle by suggesting that the problem is just all in your mind.
Brother Bernard: But we have learned that God will not allow us to go through difficulties that are too heavy for us to bear, but rather God will help us to overcome. So, what should we do to make sure that God will help us to overcome any situation?
Brother Richie: Well, read the instruction of the Bible here in Philippians 4:6-7. Here it says:
Do not worry about anything. Instead, in every situation, pray to God, tell him what you need, and ask him to help you. Also thank him for what he does for you. As a result, God will enable you not to worry about anything (OR, God will protect your minds in every way). That is, he will cause you to have inner peace because you have a relationship with Christ Jesus. You will not be able to understand how you can be so peaceful in such difficult circumstances!
[Philippians 4:6-7 Translation for Translators]
Brother Richie: The Bible is the one that teaches us. It says, “in every situation, pray to God.” Let’s follow this. What should we say in our prayer? Well, it says, “tell him what you need, and ask him to help you.” Now, how should we approach Him in prayer? The Bible also says that “thank him for what he does for you.” So, this is a very…it’s a very humble approach, Brother Bernard.
Brother Bernard: And because of that, remember, we are in no position to be making demands to God. But our prayers are simply requests to our Creator. What would be the result if we approach God properly and we pray sincerely?
Brother Richie: Well, as we read, it said that “As a result, God will enable you not to worry about anything.” How so? We also read “he will cause you to have inner peace.” Well, what about all the stressors that affect mental health? The Bible is the one that made clear, “God will protect your minds in every way.”
Brother Bernard: Brother Richie, what a wonderful situation! But is there a specific group of people that God will protect in every way?
Brother Richie: Well, there is. The Bible actually specifies that all of this will happen because—it says—“because you have a relationship with Christ Jesus.” So, those connected to Christ, those called in His body, as we studied earlier, or those that are inside His Church.
Brother Bernard: This is the very reason why we continue to produce programs just like this regarding the Church Of Christ, because we sincerely hope that all watching will learn how to be among those that will receive the help that comes from God.
Brother Richie: Now to those already members of the genuine Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ, we are reminded that stress, disappointments, and frustrations are all part of this world that we live in. It’s nothing to panic about, but instead, use these as opportunities to trust in God more and to prove our faith is real by remaining true to Him.
Brother Bernard: On behalf of all of us here at The Message, we would like to thank you for joining us today. In our study of God’s message.
Brother Richie: But before we go, please join us for a short prayer.
Our Heavenly Father, we approach You, thanking You so much from the bottom of our hearts, because as we have been able to hear Your words that are written in the Bible, we realize, dear Father, that the problems that we are encountering, the different stresses, the different trials and tests, this is all a purpose that You have for us. We can see that You are trying to see whose faith is really genuine, who really is obeying Your laws and commandments, and for this, dear God, we praise You.
We thank you for giving us an understanding of how to handle these problems properly. We do ask, please allow Your words to sink deep into our hearts. Allow us, dear Father, that as we go through these trials, we will remember that You will not ever allow us to go through a situation that we cannot handle. But we should remember that it is You that will give us the guidance and strength that we need as long as we are among those that have answered Your call inside the true Church Of Christ.
We believe that you hear our prayer now, that you have accepted our thanks and our praise. And we do also include, please forgive the many mistakes we’ve made. Help us to prove to You our faith by all the ways renewing our lives and always staying united to the Administration You have placed inside the true Church Of Christ.
This is what we ask for all through the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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