Over the last couple of months I have had a period of trials. Since September, I have had to break up with my girlfriend, which has left me some what lonely, I received a low job review (which I thought I should
have challenged, since I felt unfairly rated, but was still feeling upset about my break up) and thus I am on probation, and thus I was not given a bonus. I feel as though members of the congregation are not pulling their weight and thus putting more of burden on myself and other committed members. I am dealing with some family issues which has affected me and recently I was involved in a bike accident.

Based on this it seems that when it rains it pours, and because of this I am questioning my faith (feel as though I am losing faith). Please is there any insight that you can provide in this time of need.

When something bad happens, especially something that is not easily fixed, you can quickly feel overwhelmed as one problem piles up on other problems. It is not that you haven't had setbacks before in life, it is just that one or two unresolved problems makes the pipeline quickly back up. "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4). At the time it doesn't feel joyous, but keep in the back of your mind that the Lord is giving you an opportunity to learn.

You need to deal with each of your issues independently. For example, the loss of your girlfriend is a heavy hit, but there is nothing much you can do about the issue until the next girlfriend comes along (and she will, but it may not be as quick as you might like). The loneliness is to be expected, it is a natural consequence of losing a companion. Find something additional to do for the moment. Take a vacation, start a new hobby that you've been putting off because you were too busy, start visiting members in the congregation or having people over for meals.

We probably can put the low job rating down as a side-effect from your relationship problems. Rather than looking at the review as false, realize that it is simply the perception your boss has of you at that moment. Facts are solid, but perceptions change from moment to moment. Ask yourself some probing questions. How is it that your boss did not see your contribution accurately? Was he unaware of what you have accomplished? Was he unaware of the value of your work? Was there a grain of truth that outweighed other factors?

You can't change your boss, but you can change what you do. If your boss doesn't realize what you are doing, start writing regular status reports about your work. Be just, but thorough concerning the work that you are doing. If it is a problem of value, start noting how your work is benefiting the company in your reports. If there is a problem, no matter how minor, look for ways you can remedy it. In other words, stop moaning about the past and start aiming for a better future.

In regards to members not equally working, that is something we have just been discussing in our Bible class here in La Vista:

Parable of the Farmer (Mark 4:26-29)

            Patience is a required character trait in a farmer. It takes a year’s worth of effort to bring in a crop and until that crop is gathered, you do not know how effective your efforts have been. The farmer prepares the soil and scatters the seed, but the actual sprouting of the seed is not under his control. Exactly how it happens is not something he needs to know. The farmer plants the seed, but it is God who causes it to grow. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (I Corinthians 3:5-7).

            Those who work toward the spreading of the kingdom need reminders that growth doesn’t come all at once. The word of God is scattered and eventually some of it grows. Even then it takes time for the Christian to mature to the point that he can begin spreading the word in turn (I Peter 2:1-3; Hebrews 5:12-14). We may not know how the word causes a Christian to mature, but we can see the results in a Christian’s life. ...

            A farmer does not benefit from his crop until it is fully matured and has yielded seed of its own. The church is not able to benefit from its work until those it has taught and nurtured to maturity have in turn developed the ability to spread the word of God to others. You can see this throughout the world. Some churches grow by leaps and bound as its members produce an abundant harvest, while others dwindle away because there are not enough seed bearers. The growing churches are often the ones strongest in faith and love for God. The dying churches are consumed with internal problems.

In any church there will only be some who have matured enough to benefit the church. Especially if a church is growing, there must be time for the members to grow to maturity so that they can be productive. And there is really little that you can do to force the maturation process to go faster. Therefore, it is true that in any one church there is a relative minority who do most of the work -- it is the nature of the church.

But also, we have a tendency to see only our own work and then wonder why there aren't more doing as we are. "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness" (Romans 12:6-8). Paul then warns, "There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. ... For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body," is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you"" (I Corinthians 12:5-6, 14-21). Value people for who they are and not what you want them to be.

Again, address family issues as they come up. You can't change others, so look to see if there is something you can do to smooth out the situation. If it is out of your control, then accept the fact and continue your own life.

I'm sorry about your accident, but fortunately most wounds heal with time. I'll pray that you will be feeling better soon.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Trials