When it rains it pours.
Each week over the last month, my husband and I have been hit with a new problem or loss.
It started with a blown tire on one of our cars which resulted in buying four new tires. Next came a blown head gasket on the other vehicle—we just paid it off only a year ago. The grand finale happened with a bang … literally when my husband was in a major car accident that resulted in a vehicle total loss (praise God no injuries). And that’s only the cars. There were some other significant blows, but the biggest loss was our middle son and his sweet wife moving out of state. Oh, and as my son was packing to move, he dropped a piano on his fingers! He is a musician and the reason for the move was being hired as a music pastor.
As the hard times grew, I found my attitude growing too, but not in a good way.
I was angry and whiny. Because I talk to the Lord on a daily basis, He got an earful when I complained in detail about how hard things were.
But as I pressed into God for comfort and answers, He reminded me of some important things.
Hard times are an equalizer. No one gets through this life without some hardship and pain.
It is how we respond to hard times that determine the type of person we are now and the potential of who we can become.
If we can improve our ability to navigate life through difficult times, we will have more peace and see real growth.
Here’s how to make that happen.
It all starts with attitude and perspective.
My first response to the hardships was to complain. Did you ever notice that complaining begets more complaining? The Israelites were complainers and that kept them in the wilderness for 40 years. Scholars say the journey to the Promised Land should have only taken 11 days. Yikes! I didn’t want to be like that, so I decided I needed an attitude adjustment and pronto!
You know what the opposite of complaining is? Thankfulness.
How can we show thankfulness to God? Through praise.
We must make a decision to be thankful and praise God for all the blessings in our lives, even and especially in the difficult times.
Interestingly, I found something in an old journal that God taught me about attitude. My mom used to sing an old hymn called “Count Your Blessings.” I found pages and pages of blessings I had written. In the backdrop of each page, I had drawn a cross. This was to help me see every one of life’s difficulties with the perspective of the cross. Along with the blessings were Scriptures and an acronym to help me remember how to get through hard time which I will share with you below.
This should be our lifeline through good times and especially through bad times. But all too often, we shut down and shut God out.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Psalm 107: 28-30 NIV
When difficulties set in, our nature is to try and fix it. God wants us to release it to Him.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7 NIV
Another thing we tend to do when difficulties multiply is to pull away and retreat. Of course, this is counterproductive when we need God and others more than ever during the storms of life.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:4-5 NKJV
Hard times are opportunities for growth IF we allow them to be. First, we must investigate what’s happening. Ask yourself some questions. Did I (or another close to me) cause this situation because of sin? What could God be teaching me? Is God testing my faith? How can I grow?
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:7 NLT
I wish it wasn’t so, but many of us back off on our Bible reading during tough times. We must be determined to not only read our Bibles but meditate on Scripture often. Why? The word of God is alive and powerful! Exactly what we need during trials.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12
Life is not a sprint, but a marathon. Marathons take endurance. Just like lifting heavy weights builds muscle and training for a marathon increases endurance—trials and hard times grows our endurance.
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. James 1: 2-4
My friends, the truth is, dealing with life’s difficulties make us stronger and closer to God when we P.R.A.I.S.E.
It is also a fact that we ALL will face trials in this life. So, let’s not pray for an easy life; pray for the strength to endure through the tough stuff that leads to greatness and points others to the author and perfector of our faith: JESUS CHRIST.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Need prayer? Let me know in the comments and I will pray for you.
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