Six ways to remain steadfast during trials

Written by Dan Panetti
Published on June 05, 2020

I find myself in a unique situation, partially agreeing with both sides of an argument. These are strange times indeed.

Something happened recently that gave me a fresh perspective in reference to this lockdown—something unexpected. 

Two men who I knew well and respected greatly, who walked with the Lord and who loved their families, passed from this life into eternity. The passing of these two men gave me an opportunity to pause in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and really think about what is truly important.

Two sides to the same story

As an attorney and an adjunct professor of government at Dallas Baptist University, I am intrigued by the legal precedent and constitutional aspects of the COVID-19 shutdown. 

I have friends who are outraged to the point of protest that the government has overstepped their authority by shutting down private businesses. My peers are dismayed at the government’s orders to cease weekly gatherings in houses of worship, all in an effort to flatten the curve of this infectious disease. 

At the same time, I have friends in the medical field who are fighting the virus and have been affected by its ruthless tenacity.

While this debate has raged on for months, much of my attention has rested on the opportunity to stand outside the homes of these two men, praying while practicing social distancing. 

Faithfulness while social distancing

I have attended two funerals during quarantine, which meant for one funeral that we watched a live stream of the service while sitting outside in our cars.

I was able to witness friends and family refusing to allow the fear of the coronavirus to stop their gathering for prayer in a time of need. 

And while I’m sure the online conferencing that so many have engaged in has been a source of community, there is just something about being together in person. There is something about a physical presence that simply cannot be duplicated by technology. 

This reality has driven home the importance of the incarnation of Christ for me—for God to put on flesh and blood, to be willing to dwell among us as one of us. How wonderful that our God didn’t just send us a messenger or an instruction manual on how to live. 

He willingly stepped out of heaven to walk with us, talk with us, and even die for us! 

An eternal perspective

My family has been watching ​The Chosen, “the first multi-season series about the life of Christ,” created by filmmaker Dallas Jenkins. This series, more than anything else I’ve ever experienced, has taken the incarnation of Jesus to a whole new level, experience, and appreciation.

Losing two friends has provided me with much needed eternal perspective in the midst of a temporary crisis. And several verses in Scripture tell us how important this perspective is for the believer. 

In 1 Peter 1, Peter writes to remind fellow believers that the joy of their salvation should far surpass the “various trials” that grieve them for a little while (v. 6). Paul echos this eternal perspective as he encourages the church in Corinth reminding them: “this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18).

Neither Peter nor Paul write to diminish the real pain and suffering of their fellow believers—their problems and your problems are real—but these trials and tribulations are temporary. 

And the temporary nature of our struggles should give us great comfort in the midst of even the most trying circumstance.

How to remain steadfast under trial

The Book of James also encourages Christians to stand strong in the face of hardship. 

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,” is an encouragement for believers that we can all take to heart during these difficult days (James 1:12). But many people now find themselves asking: how do we remain steadfast under trial? 

Let me provide you with my thoughts during lockdown. I hope they meet you where you are.

  1. Focus on what you can control—not on what you can’t (Prov. 3:5–6).
  2. Live in the moment—refuse to be anxious about tomorrow (Matt. 6:34).
  3. Look for ways to break up the monotony—tackle a home improvement project or
    learn to play a new card game. One of my sons proposed that I come up with a question for each family member to be researched and presented around the dinner table. It has sparked some of the best conversations we have ever had. 
  4. Relax and take a walk—meditate on the ways that God has provided for you, delivered you from death, given you a purpose, and equipped you for his service (Psalm 116:7–9).
  5. Bathe in a book of the Bible—not just read through it, but sit and soak in it! Think of Naaman going down into the Jordan again and again. Read and re-read a passage, chapter, or book—dive deep(er) into the Word!
  6. Memorize and meditate on Scripture—both of which are underappreciated spiritual disciplines. My oldest son and I are currently focusing on memorizing at least one verse from each book of the Bible.

Growth through pain

There are countless considerations that you and your family can tackle. Take advantage of and appreciate what you’ve been given during these unusual days. 

As we move toward reopening our economy and more normal days ahead, let us strive to look back at these days with a certain fondness for what God taught us. 

May the difficulties and perspective we gained through our pain, grow and mature us for his glory. 

Thanks be to God.

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Dan Panetti

Dan Panetti serves as the Worldview Director for Prestonwood Christian Academy. He and his wife Tricia have four wonderful children and have been married for almost 25 years!

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