Seven things to know about life’s hard places
September 25, 2022
Seven things to know about life’s hard places
Life does to us what life finds in us!
Hardship and problems are a part of life.
Because of the day we are living in, challenges are in our future. The gory and the glory are in our future.
Be prepared for the hard place.
John 16:33 (AMP)
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
We sometimes respond to tough places with anger, frustration, self-pity, depression, fear, resignation.
Sometimes we harden our heart towards God when times are tough and that keeps God from doing what He wants to do within us.
God wants to use the hard places to shape us and help us to grow spiritually.
Sometimes God may lead you into a hard place!
Matthew 4:1 (NLT)
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.
Luke 4:1-2 (NLT)
Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.
Jesus was led on purpose by the Holy Spirit into a hard place.
Hebrews 5:8-9 (NKJV)
Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
Kenneth Hagin – Early 80’s – Hard places are God’s method of taking us to a deeper place of fellowship with Him.
Paul’s tough places:
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (TPT)
All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. 4 He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (TPT)
Brothers and sisters, you need to know about the severe trials we experienced while we were in western Turkey. All of the hardships we passed through crushed us beyond our ability to endure, and we were so completely overwhelmed that we were about to give up entirely. 9 It felt like we had a death sentence written upon our hearts, and we still feel it to this day. It has taught us to lose all faith in ourselves and to place all of our trust in the God who raises the dead.
2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (NLT)
We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
2 Corinthians 11:23-28 (NLT)
Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered inthe cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.
28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.
As long as we live, hard times will come. Here are some things I’ve gleaned over the years that have helped me.
Know the difference between a demonic intrusion into your life and a God ordained character development time.
Here are 7 things we need to know about life’s hard places.
1. God will sometimes allow your comfortable nest to be stirred in order for you to grow spiritually.
Exodus 19:4 NKJV
You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.
As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the LORD alone led him, and there was no foreign god with him.
God took me out of my comfortable nest when I was 30 years old in 1988, and the lessons I have learned there I have carried thru life…
Ministry was an idol…
I was a workaholic …I got personal self worth only out of accomplishment.
Pride was a deep issue…
I am a failure Day came to my life…
The tough place helped me to deal with my ministry idolatry, my workaholic mindset, and my pride.
Whatever you need, God has just the place to help you overcome.
2. God has promised that we will make it through the hard place.
Sometimes it looks like things will never change…that is where you learn to fight the good fight of faith…
Sometimes it may feel as though you will not make it through this one!
I was sulking during a particularly hard place years ago and feeling sorry for myself and I heard the Lord say – Get up!! He then ministered His word to me:
Psalm 27:5 God’s Word
He hides me in his shelter when there is trouble. He keeps me hidden in his tent. He sets me high on a rock.
Psalm 34:19 NKJV
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. (40) And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.
Psalm 46:1 Amplified
God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.
Psalm 50:15 NKJV
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
Psalm 86:7 NKJV
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me.
Psalm 91:14-16 NKJV
Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. (15) He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
(16) With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.
Romans 8:37- Amp
Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
God had the answer before the problem! Rev. 13:8
Ask for the deliverance and then stand in faith!
3. Keep the big picture in mind.
Romans 8:28 – Amplified
We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
Romans 8:28 – Message
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
The Father wants to take advantage of this time to develop your character!
Romans 8:18 NKJV
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
Romans 8:18-21 – The Message
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – NLT
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. (17) For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (18) So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – The Message
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
4. Hard places help purify character.
Job 23:10 NKJV
But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
Psalm 66:10 NKJV
For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.
Isaiah 48:10 (NKJV)
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
John 15:2 NKJV
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
1 Peter 1:6-7 NKJV
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 4:12-13 Amplified
Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you. (13) But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, rejoice, so that when His glory [full of radiance and splendor] is revealed, you may also rejoice with triumph [exultantly].
Exodus 13:17-18 NKJV
Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” (18) So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.
Pressure reveals flaws…let the Father repair them!
Tests are opportunities to become spiritually strong.
Example:Testing pipes used under high pressure in oil field
5. Learn to encourage yourself
1 Samuel 30:6 – Amplified
David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
Psalm 103:1-2 – NLT
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
(2) Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.
Psalm 105:1-5 NKJV
Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! (2) Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! (3) Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord! (4)Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore! (5) Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
Keep a running list of all the times God has made a way and worked things out for you when you were in a hard place.
6. Attitude can raise altitude.
Attitude can keep you ahead of the battle and help you depend on God your Father.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 – Amplified
However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. (8) We are hedged in (pressed) on every side [troubled and oppressed in every way], but not cramped or crushed; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out, but not driven to despair; (9) We are pursued (persecuted and hard driven), but not deserted [to stand alone]; we are struck down to the ground, but never struck out and destroyed;
Romans 5:3-4 – Amplified
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. (4) And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
James 1:2 Phillips
When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character, men of integrity with no weak spots.
2 Corinthians 4:18 – NLT
So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
Just another opportunity to prove the faithfulness of God.
Philippians 4:11 (A.S.Way)
I have learned in whatever condition I am, to be independent of circumstances. I am schooled to bear the depths of poverty, I am schooled to bear abundance. In life as a whole and all its circumstances, I have mastered the secret of living – How to be the same amidst repletion and starvation, amidst abundance and privation. I am equal to every lot through the help of Him who gives me inward strength.
7. Praise releases God’s power in your circumstance
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Amp
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
Habakkuk 3:17-18 – NLT
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, (18) yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
Acts 16:22-25 -NLT
A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods.(23) They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. (24) So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.
(25) Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.
Nehemiah 8:10 – NLT
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
Psalm 22:3 – NLT
Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
Psalm 16:11 NKJV
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 149:5-9 -NLT
Let the faithful rejoice that he honors them. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds. (6) Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands(7) to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, (8) to bind their kings with shackles and their leaders with iron chains,(9) to execute the judgment written against them. This is the glorious privilege of his faithful ones. Praise the Lord!
Praise creates strength!
1. God wants us to share everything with Him. As we do, stress decreases, peace increases, and we learn to live by faith and not feelings.
2. Whatever you’re facing, don’t give up on yourself or on God. There is a bigger picture to see than the present!
3. Life does to us what Life finds in us!