Seven Things to Remind Ourselves of During Tough Times
March 22, 2020
Seven Things to Remind Ourselves of During Tough Times
Life often brings all of us sudden, unforeseen challenges. I have learned that if we respond the right way, the challenge can make us better, not bitter.
The whole world is wrestling with this Coronavirus. We are believing it will be over soon, and we can get back to a semblance of normal in life.
Here are seven things we all need to be reminded of as we together believe God and stand until this passes.
1. We are not immune from hardship.
There are two kinds of suffering that Jesus endured:
Circumstantial and Substitutional
Jesus’ substitutional sufferings have immunized us from the effects of sin and sickness.
1 Peter 2:24 (TPT)
He Himself carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we would be dead to sin and live for righteousness. Our instant healing flowed from His wounding.
Jesus became our sin and sickness so that we could be free from them!
Jesus also endured circumstantial suffering, but we are not immune from tough times!
2. Our journey through life is often filled with hard places.
Hardship, tests, difficulties are part of living on earth.
John 16:33 (NLT)
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
John 16:33 (NKJV) These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
Greek 2347. θλίψις thlipsis; from 2346; pressure (literally or figuratively): — afflicted(-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble
Psalms 34:19 (NLT)
The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalms 34:19 (TPT)
Even when bad things happen to the good and godly ones, the Lord will save them and not let them be defeated by what they face.
It is what you do with the hard places that determines what life does to you.
**Someone said that what life finds in you determines what life does to you…**
3. Sometimes, God allows us to go through a hard place!
Jesus was led 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.
Matthew 4:1 (TPT)
Afterward, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the lonely wilderness in order to reveal His strength against the accuser by going through the ordeal of testing.
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.
Luke 4:1-2 (TPT)
From the moment of His baptism, Jesus was overflowing with the Holy Spirit. He was taken by the Spirit from the Jordan into the lonely wilderness of Judea to experience the ordeal of testing by the accuser for forty days. He ate no food during this time and ended His forty-day fast very hungry.
Jesus was led on purpose by the Holy Spirit into a hard place.
God will sometimes lead us directly into a hard place, to give us opportunity to grow.
Hard places are God’s method of taking us to a deeper place of fellowship with Him.
Take advantage of the hard places!
4. Our response determines what the tough times produce in us!
Don’t despise the hard places in life.
Hardening the heart when times are tough keeps God from doing what He wants to do.
James 1:2 (JB 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.
Philippians 4:11 (AS 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.
5. God will help you overcome when the test is on!
Years ago God dealt with me about taking daily time to wait in His presence and talk to Him about my struggles.
I had a huge pressure time when I was 30 or so, pioneering a church in a small SC town.
I wanted to give up. That would have been the easy way out, but God would not let me take the easy way.
He spoke very sternly to me one day as I was thinking about all my problems and seeing no way out.
He told me to GET UP! I took my Bible and went to my backyard. As I walked under the ten or so oak trees there, God gave me the following scriptures that really gave me hope and kept me from quitting:
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.
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.
Psalms 37:39-40 (TPT)
But the Lord will be the Savior of all who love him. Even in their time of trouble God will live in them as strength. (40) Because of their faith in him, their daily portion will be a Father’s help and deliverance from evil. This is true for all who turn to hide themselves in him!
Psalm 46:1 (AMPL)
God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.
Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, For You will answer me.
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 (AMPL)
Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
Bob Yandian – Because Jesus is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), that means that God had the answer before the problem ever came!
Ask for the deliverance and then stand in faith!
These scriptures moved me away from my thoughts to God-thoughts about my rough place. They let me know He was watching, and was ready to help me, and that He would be with me and would help me until the storm, the hard place, ended.
6. God wants us to take advantage of hard times to allow Him to develop our character!
Romans 5:3-5 (Passion Translation)
But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. (4) And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. (5) And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!
Romans 5:3-5 (MSG)
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, (4) and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. (5) In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Romans 5:3-4 (AMPC)
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.
Romans 8:28 (AMPL)
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 (MSG)
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Romans 8:28 (TPT)
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
Romans 8:18-21 (MSG)
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 (MSG)
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.
7. In the tough place, it’s important to pour out your heart to God!
God does not want us to hold things inside. It’s unhealthy in every way.
God wants us to expose our personal pain to Him:
What you think about yourself. Personal stuff.
How people treat you.
Circumstances. Job. Business. Money.
Psalms 61:1-5 (NKJV)
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. (2) From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (3) For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. (4) I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. (5) For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
Allow God into the inner recesses of your life.
Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
Psalms 34:17-19 (NLT)
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. (18) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (19) The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
Psalms 34:4-10 (NLT)
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. (5) Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. (6) In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. (7) For the angel of the Lord is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear him. (8) Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (9) Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. (10) Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
I have learned to pour my heart out to God and mention my stress to Him in detail.
We get so busy that we don’t do this as we should!
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. (29) He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. (30) Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. (31) But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
1. Take some time to pour your heart out to God. He 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!