“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

When the clouds show no sign of breaking, and when there’s no hope on the horizon, I have choices to make. I can slip into doubt, or I can cling to hope. I can grow ever more fearful, or I can make a concerted effort to trust. I can listen to lies, or I can keep a white-knuckled grip on truth.

When what I deem to be good fails to line up with what God allows in my life, I can be pushed into a spiritual dilemma. When my ideas and plans crumble, tough questions surface. Can I trust the God I say I love and serve? Will I trust even when I cannot see the way out of my situation? Will I allow this crisis to drive me closer to him, or will I bolster my human reserves and try harder?

At these critical junctures, I need to hold on to what I know to be true about the Lord. It may be that God allows a trial for unseen purposes and that truly “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18).

When I’m bewildered, I require a change of perspective, not a change in circumstance. I have to shift my thinking to an eternal perspective. I must stop lamenting over my woes and continue fighting my foes—those forces that seek to overcome me.

Most importantly, I need to remember that the battle is already won.

I must also remember that, when I gave my life to the Lord, my salvation didn’t come with a signed waiver promising a trouble-free life. It did, however, mean that my life is no longer my own. Although I grapple with the percentage of ownership from time to time, should I really be surprised when there’s a dramatic shift in my circumstances? After all, in giving my heart to Christ, I’ve effectively said, “You’re Lord of my life.”

His leading of my life, therefore, isn’t a hostile takeover. He’s the good shepherd, ever searching for me when I wander, showing me the true intentions of my heart, leading me, refining me, and lovingly making me more like him. If the refining, shaping, and following is bewildering at times, I’ll choose to believe that God is still good, even if the situation isn’t. And I’ll believe his idea of good, his thoughts, and his ways even when mine don’t match. Instead of turning away during those times, I will determine to fix my eyes on the invisible glory and grace that flows from eternity.

I won’t lose heart or give up believing that this struggle is for eternal glory.