Others need us to point them to where they can go for help in hardships. Others need to believe us because they see us going there ourselves. The people in our lives need to see us suffer well, handling hardships with hope because we have Jesus in our lives. They need to see and hear our joy-filled, hope-filled, peace-filled confidence in this: He will get us through every test, trial and tribulation until He gets us home. As we walk through seasons of suffering, let us testify to the faithfulness of Jesus in walking with us so others can know, that because grace is available, they never have to walk alone either.
Do you know what your failure is for? It has a purpose, and that purpose is to help you succeed. Not just so you’ll try harder next time. Not just so you’ll be wiser next time. Not just so you’ll do better next time. But rather so you will rely more fully on Jesus next time. His strength. His guidance. His way. His plan. His timing. His help. The right response to failure is faith, for every person who turns to and trusts in Jesus will win in the end. Remember this when you find yourself coming up short: Futility and frustration are intended to move you away from self-reliance to Savior-reliance. And that move is always for the better.
Jesus is not only a doer of good to you, He is also an un-doer of bad done to you by people. They hurt your heart; He heals it. They distance themselves; He draws near. They sting you with their words; He soothes you with His. They overlook you; He pays attention. They cheat you; He blesses you. They intend you harm; He works it out for good. They judge your sins; He dies for them. We all do each other wrong, but Jesus begins to make things right in us when we turn to Him, and He will someday make things right in all of creation. Until then, let us seek His grace when others wrong us and when we wrong others.
There is often a tension between belief and doubt when things become difficult. It would be plausible to lose hope and lose heart when facing things that are too much for us to handle if we were forced to handle them alone. But Jesus has promised to never leave us alone, always supplying the grace we need for the needs we face. The more we trust in Him, the more we will rely on Him during the unexpected, uncertain and unpleasant difficulties of this broken world. He will work it out for good as we work out His purposes for us. With faith all things are not made easy. With faith all things are made possible.
Remember this as you follow Jesus in faith: it’s not what happens to us that is of greatest importance, but rather the end result of what happens. Things often won’t go as we plan, things often won’t work out like we hope, and things often won’t be as simple or easy or comfy as we would like. But in the hands and plans of God, our struggles are not setbacks. They are stepping stones to the good result He has in mind. So… Don’t stop believing. Don’t stop proceeding. Something good is coming even if you don’t yet see it. Take heart! Things would look much better if we could see them not as they are, but as they will be.
It’s never right to be angry with God. It’s a sin. When we are angry at Him, it’s an assault on His character. It’s, in essence, saying to God regarding the circumstances that have caused such strong resentment in us: You are not right. You are not good. You are not wise. You are not loving. And none of those things are true, no matter how hard life gets. What is true is that God is unbelievably good and loving to us, and is actively working out a wise and right plan, no matter how hard life gets. He will make it all right when He makes it all new. So, be mad at sin, brokenness and Satan. But never be mad at our good, good Father.
We don’t know what it means. We don’t know what is coming. We don’t know what to do. In times when the diagnosis is unknown, the situation is unresolved, the path is unfamiliar or the outcome is uncertain, what should we do? Sometimes the thing we are to do is to do nothing. We wait. We wait on the Lord. We wait in hope on the Lord. We wait in hope on the Lord to guide us, help us and deliver us. While it’s not easy to wait, it’s comforting to know that grace is on its way and that God will make a way. As our lives are on hold, let us remember with joy this beautiful truth: God is working while we wait.
One of the ways that God changes us to become like Jesus is through hardships. We struggle to find answers on our own, we worry and doubt and fear often, we fall short over and over again, and we feel like many tasks in front of us are impossible. But, in time we learn to turn to and trust in the wisdom, strength, and grace of God as He transforms us into people of faith through our struggles. Hardships can be like hard workouts, strengthening us and shaping us for the better. As we face struggles, let us not forget this: sometimes God will change the situation; sometimes God will use the situation to change us.
There are days when our biggest battle is against unbelief. We start to doubt that God cares about what is happening to us and that He is going to do anything about it. To battle unbelief, we must remember God’s faithfulness in the past and remember God’s promises for the future. He has always taken care of us, He is taking care of us, and He will continue to take care of us. Defeat your doubts by remembering today that He has a good reason for what He has allowed into your life and that He is actively working it out for your good. God cares about what is happening to you, and God will show His care for you.
What is going on? Why is this happening? When will it be over? Where is God in all of this? Life may not be working out the way we hoped it would or wanted it to, but God is doing a thousand things for us today even if we don’t have our spiritual eyes locked in on any of them. Our experience may seem pointless and be painful, but we can be confident that He is walking with us and working for us. We don’t have to make sense out of everything that is going on or that we are going through; but we do need to trust that God is tirelessly at work in ways that would make sense if we knew all that He knows.
Devastating tragedy. Unexpected loss. Agonizing heartache. There is no way to be adequately prepared for sudden suffering when it blindsides us. We don’t see the hardship coming, but we can be sure of this: we will see the grace of God coming. He will not leave us alone to face the trials of this world. We don’t have the answers, but He will give us guidance. We don’t have the will, but He will give us strength. We don’t have optimism, but He will give us hope. We don’t have a lot of things on our own, but we do have Jesus. And He is everything. Take heart in this: He will help us every moment we cannot help ourselves.