Whether it is a death in the family, battle with cancer, financial hardship or divorce, each of us has gone through trials and times that test our faith. Some, last only for a short period of time and other seasons seem unending. Actress Sandra Bullock is just as familiar with success as she is with trials. As an actress, she went through a very public scandal in the midst of promoting The Blind Side and trying to adopt her son. She would go on to win an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress for the film. We interviewed Bullock three years ago and talked to her about her view on prayer, how she handles adversity and the importance of perseverance.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:2-6
In both Gravity and The Blind Side, Bullock portrays characters that pray. Bullock talks about her view on prayer.
“Faith is so specific for whom you are. There is no right or wrong way to have gratitude, or to pray, or to ask for help, or to talk to someone who might not be there; if it brings you calm and it brings you strength, it’s the right thing to do. It doesn’t have to be in the house of God, it could be sitting on your couch, or outside under a tree.”
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Everyone is going to face some level of pain or hurt at one time or another in their lives. Bullock shares her perspective on how work through adversity.
“I don’t know because everyone’s situation is different…You can’t try to control it. It’s going to happen or it’s happening. You let go and you go through it. If you constantly fight it, and you constantly resist it, you are going to spend your whole life fighting. And you are going to be at the end of your life thinking, ‘I don’t remember the times of calm and peace,’ because you have created a fight. Everyone is going to be hit with something. And just when you think it’s over, you are going to get hit again. You just hope that you have people in your life that are going to show you the light at the end of the tunnel if you can’t see it.”
Bullock opens up on the mental aspect of perseverance and what she does to stay focused.
“My whole life. You say, ‘I’m going to try.’ And then a lot of the times the, ‘I’m going to make it. I’m going to try,’ doesn’t make it. But, you tried. Then something else appears where you say, ‘Wow. Who would’ve thought that the collapse of this actually was a blessing and opened up this [other thing]?’ You know they say when one door closes, another door opens and you think, ‘Yea whatever.’ But truly, as long as you try, come to terms with the past, and let it go.”
Persevere. While it is easier said than done, look to God during your time of trial. Pray and ask Him for His perspective on the situation. It is easy for us to get caught up in what we see or what we know, but remember that God has more insight into situations than we can fathom. Reflect on passages in the Bible this week of characters who had to persevere when faced with difficult circumstances like David who was appointed to be king, but King Saul wanted to kill him. There is also Noah who was obedient to God and built an ark even though others ridiculed him. Whatever your circumstance, chances are that there is someone in the Bible that you can identify with. If you need help, ask your small group leader, pastor or a friend for some examples.
Be thankful. Rather than focus on what you can’t fix, be thankful for the other things around you. Take time and write down everything that you are thankful for and thank God for providing even in the midst of your hardship. If that is too hard, ask other people to come alongside you and help you identify the positive things in the situation. Sometimes, other people can provide a fresh perspective to the situation.
Surround yourself with support. It can be a friend, small group, pastor, counselor or family members. It is important that when we are going through a hard time that we do not isolate ourselves. The enemy wants you to think that you are the only one going through it. But the truth is that God has given us a body of believers, friends and family that can come alongside and help us. After you have come out of the trial, look for others that you can help that might be going through something similar and might need some encouragement.
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