Meet God in Your Hard Times

November 20, 2012

Coach Micheal Burt says that after we go through adversity, we can stay beaten down, rise back up to where we were, or use the adversity as a spring board to rise above where we began.  In a lot of areas, I think he may be right.

I believe adversity affects our faith in a unique way.  I’ve certainly seen people go through job loss, a marriage breakup, or a death of a loved one and never really get back to where they were before in their faith.  Their trust in God was so shaken that they simply turned their backs on God.  I feel for those that I’ve known who have lost their faith and stay beaten down.

Victor Frankl who went through a concentration camp at the hands of the Nazis wrote:

“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing:  the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

No matter what our situation, we choose our attitude and we choose if we’re going to trust God in our circumstances.  Our attitude is STILL our choice.

Some believe that after going through hard circumstances that you can get back to where you were, back to the norm.  I don’t believe that.  As a follower of Christ, He hasn’t called us to “the norm.”  If we only go back to “the norm,” we’re really becoming stagnant.  “The norm” is not a place to shoot for either.  God wants us to use our experiences to make us stronger.

When we go through adversity, though our faith was shaken, our foundation remains if we choose to hold onto it.  After our experience, we remember how God didn’t remove us from the situation but He walked with us through it.  We think about how His strong arms held us when we didn’t think we could go on any longer.  Maybe we know from experience that He sent people to us for comfort. The choice to continue trusting Him is ours.

When hardship and pain knock you to your knees, find God there.  He is there waiting for you.  Don’t stay the same.  Don’t go back to normal.  Let Him hold you and rise above it.

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One thing that I’ve learned as I’ve tried to live as a Christ follower is that life is tough.  It didn’t take me long to discover that life can sometimes seem very unfair.  I think sometimes Christians think that once they accept Christ into their life, everything will begin running smoothly in their life.  That’s not always the case.

Jesus said that “in this life, you will have trouble.” (John 16:33).  If you’re not in a trial now, one thing is for sure.  You will have them in the future.  Hard times come.   Going through tough times is not an issue of being unlucky or lacking faith.  It’s just life in a messed up world.

In tough times, I often hear statements like these:

“I know that God loves me BUT I don’t understand why I have to go through life hurting like this.”

“I know God is sovereign BUT if that’s the case, why can’t I find a job?”

The problem with these statements is that the BUT is in the wrong place. The Bible tells the story of Job and others who loved God with all of their hearts, however, things went wrong in their lives.

Job didn’t throw in the towel when life came crashing down on him. He kept trusting God. Job 13:15 quotes Job as saying, “Though he slay me, yet I will trust Him.” Job was trusting with everything he had…even his own life.

Now, back to the BUT being in the wrong place. Let’s rearrange the above sentences with the BUT in the right place.

“I am hurting alot and I don’t understand, BUT I know that God loves me. I trust Him.”

“I haven’t found a job yet BUT I hope in God because He is sovereign. He knows what I need and He cares for me.”

The difference in the statements is the placement of the BUT. One focuses on the challenge and the other focuses on God.  The first two has the focus on our limitations and the other focuses on how big God is.

Let’s focus our “BUTS” on who God is and not focus so much on our challenges. When we focus on who God is and not so much on our challenges, those challenges seem to get a bit smaller in comparison to the God that we serve.

Does any of this make sense to you?