To effectively combat the "spirit of fear" pushed by Satan in today's chaotic world, Christians must build their "faith muscle" and remember that God is unchanging in both the good and bad times, according to evangelist Christine Caine.
Caine, an internationally known preacher, speaker and author, told The Christian Post that the climate of fear and uncertainty evident across the globe prompted her to write her latest book, Unexpected: Leave Fear Behind, Move Forward in Faith, Embrace the Adventure.
"Over the last few years, I've seen so many people shaken by unexpected circumstances and events, morally, politically, and spiritually," she said. "The Bible tells that a spirit of fear doesn't come from God — it's from Satan. The enemy wants to cripple and paralyze our faith, because without faith, it's impossible to please God. When I look at the landscape of the world and I see all of the chaos, pain, suffering, and division, I think the enemy has gone after people's faith. You see a real sense of hopelessness and futility."
"It occurred to me that what is unexpected to us is not unexpected to God, and the same grace that got us this far will get us through anything in the future," she continued. "I want to inject faith and hope in a time right now where there's a lot of despair."
In her book, Caine presents compelling, real-life stories and practical, scripture-based strategies to encourage readers to expect and even embrace unpredictable circumstances and live in the freedom and security found in Christ alone.
"Unexpected circumstances are part of living and breathing, so we need to strengthen our faith muscle so that in the midst of things changing or being chaotic, we can navigate that from a place of faith," she said. "Although everything that happens to us is not good, God is still good, and He works all things together for good."
When it comes to facing the unexpected, Caine speaks from experience. In 2014, she was diagnosed with cancer after waking up with a sore throat during one of the "busiest and biggest seasons" of her life.
"I was participating in speaking engagements and had just released a new book when the doctor called me and said those words no one ever wants to hear: 'You have cancer,'" she recalled. "At that moment, I had to really decide how I was going to respond. I said to my doctor, 'My battle isn't against cancer. My battle is against fear, because fear will cripple and paralyze me and prevent me from thinking clearly and moving in faith.'"
While she was healed from her illness thanks to "prayer and medical intervention," Caine said that during those weeks of uncertainty she surrounded herself with friends who would sympathize but refuse to allow her to wallow in a negative diagnosis.
"I found trusted people who came alongside me and reminded me that what Jesus did for me was bigger than any circumstance I was in," she said. "When you're faced with trying circumstances, you need people around you that are going to keep God in a big perspective and not shrink Him down to your painful experience, because I think that's where we get stuck. Sometimes, we are too broken to get to Jesus; we need friends who will put us on a mat and drop us through the roof. We need people around us who will say, 'I'll take you, because you can't take yourself there.'"
"We need to do whatever it takes to keep your soul restored and refreshed," she said. "In those times of fear and uncertainty, you've got to do things even when you don't want to. Continue to be in the Word, to be part of a life-giving community, to be part of a worship experience."
Caine shared with CP how her past experiences with betrayal and brokenness have inspired her to help give others a future. The 51-year-old evangelist endured 12 years of childhood sexual abuse and was 33 when she discovered that she was adopted. Today, she's the head of A21, an international anti-human trafficking organization, and Propel, a women's organization dedicated to helping women realize their purpose, passion and potential.
"You take a chick from Sydney, Australia, who was abandoned and unwanted and was abused for years, and today I'm running a global anti-trafficking organization and a global women's movement," she said. "Only God could do that. I think sometimes people see someone like me and they think that to do what I do, I've been exempt from trials and pain and suffering. In reality, I think, 'Oh no, my past has prepared me for what I do.'"
"I could've allowed my past to define my future, but God has done an unexpected thing with my life," she continued. "Through Christ, my history doesn't define my destiny. I want to encourage people that God is able to do so much more than they even could imagine if they trust Him."
To truly rely on God in times of trouble, Caine said believers must have a proper understanding of who He is. She explained that far too often, Christians have a polarizing view of God, viewing Him as either a "sugar daddy who will give you whatever you want" or a "really judgmental ogre that wants your life to be miserable."
"In one camp, you've got people who insist on being all happy-clappy in the midst of trials, but calling things that are as though they are not is not called faith; that's called lying," she explained. "When you get a cancer diagnosis, you have cancer, you don't deny it. That hasn't helped anyone, it's actually caused so much damage. The other group says, 'Accept your lot in life, that's the way it's gonna be, don't expect anything better.'"
"We have to navigate this tension of, what is it like to have faith in a broken world and in the midst of discouragement? How do you hold onto hope when things don't go as expected? We have to fill in that middle space and say, 'Okay, this is what it's like to have hope and faith in a fragmented, broken world full of despair and hopelessness,'" she said.
Ultimately, Caine said she hopes her book provides hope, comfort, and encouragement to anyone who has experienced loss, betrayal, brokenness, or uncertainty.
"I want people to expect good things from God," she said. "So many believers live with a faith that does not expect God to do good things, and yet Ephesians says He's able to do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond what we can think and imagine. We ought to be expecting the unexpected while remembering that because God promises to never leave us or forsake us, we don't need to hide in fear or allow discouragement to take us out of the fight."
To learn more about Unexpected: Leave Fear Behind, Move Forward in Faith, Embrace the Adventure, click here.