Trust in Him at all times, o people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:8
Today’s reflection is the nineteen and final in this series on choosing to thrive in our circumstances. Circumstances are things that happen in life, some are of our own making and some are not. We can choose to thrive in our circumstances or we can let our circumstances get the best of us and prevent us from being all that we can be, or all that God wants us to be.
Children attending school each week is both exciting and stressful for them and their parents. Getting up, getting dressed, fighting traffic, fighting carlines (and some of you battle two or even three of these), getting homework done, and doing it day after day, week after week are stressful circumstances. So, does stress lead the way? Or patience? How about joy—are you joyful that your children have lived another year and are progressing in school? Are you excited about the possibilities that the school year has to offer? Some will approach school each day in joy, others with trepidation, others with angst. Our approach to our circumstances will affect our students, others around us, and us. The best way to manage these circumstances, and really, any circumstances in life, is to put faith at the center, to choose to face them with faith.
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus says “Lo, I am with you always.”
In Matthew 18:20, Jesus says “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them”
In Psalm 23:4, we read “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I feel no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Even a cursory search of the Bible reveals hundreds of verses that provide us comfort and reassurance that God is with us, how God is with us, and how God can help us in our lives. There are defining moments when we have to make a choice about God. We have to choose Him to be our God, to be the Lord of our life. And we have to affirm this choice every day, especially on days and in circumstances where it feels like God is absent. After all, it is easy to love God (or someone else) when everything is going well. It is quite a different challenge to love when everything seems to be going to pieces.
Faith is ultimately a choice—we have to make a personal choice to believe in God, to trust in His word, to believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ, and to trust that there is a purpose for our lives and bring the Lord into our daily walk and into our daily decisions. In those times when life is not going well, faith is what sustains us. Jesus encourages us to put one foot in front of the other, walking through life on our way to everlasting life. And faith is ultimately a choice we have to make on a daily basis.
I sometimes feel like I want a “time-out” from life. Except that life does not afford us time-outs. Perhaps short vacations and breaks but not long time-outs. When I struggle to find strength to put one foot in front of the other, it is an overall faith in God that makes the difference for me. I have serious doubts at times about what I am doing—and faith leads me back to the same conclusion: God has me where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do. So, there is a choice to honor Him, or to not honor Him, in what I am doing. I can’t change some of my circumstances, but I can choose to thrive in my circumstances, and I CAN thrive in my circumstances by making a choice to believe and to follow Him in all of them!
Lord, help me when my circumstances are hard. Whether they are just daily stresses or big life issues, help me to feel the comfort that only You can provide. Help me to trust even when I can’t see the way. Help me to choose faith every time I have a doubt. Help me to have more faith in You and Your plan for my life. Surround me with people who choose faith, so that they can encourage my faith, especially at times when my faith isn’t particularly strong. Lead me closer to You each day. And as I go through life, give me the wisdom and the strength to grow in my faith each day and in each circumstance. Amen.
Stay faithful to God in your circumstances today!


Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced multiple books, you can view here:


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