A million times I’ve beat myself up with the words, “You’re just throwing a pity party. Thousands of people are going through much harder things than you.”
Here’s what I’ve discovered:
It’s not self-pity to acknowledge that you’re going through a hard time.
Yes, it’s true that you can probably find thousands of people going through much harder things than you. But that doesn’t negate your personal difficulty.
It doesn’t negate the moments when I watch my children struggle to understand what someone is saying.
It doesn’t negate the pain of seeing a stranger’s thoughts show on their face when they notice that my children don’t have the same abilities as their peers.
My difficulties are harder than some and lighter than others.
One commonality that connects all of mankind is difficulty. Pain. Struggles. Trials. Tribulations. Jesus promised it would be so.
One unfortunate lie that some have believed is that Jesus Christ will take away all of your troubles. “Come to Jesus and all your troubles will go away.”
For some, that is when trouble begins!
- Their family rejects them – completely walks away from them and never talks them again
- Their friends walk away or bully them
- They lose their job, they are sentenced to prison
- Their life is in danger.
“In this world you will have trouble….” John 16:33
Probably not a promise that we boldly claim and proclaim, but a promise nonetheless. But there is a second part to this verse that we will uncover in a moment.
The Proverbs say:
“Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:17-18
“Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the wicked;For there will be no prospect for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.” Proverbs 24:19-20
Dear friend, this world is not our home!!
We can be encouraged, even when we lose it all: our friends, our reputation, our jobs, our homes…everything!
“For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.” There is a reward waiting that is worth so much more if we will remain faithful to the end!
The Word says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10
We cannot afford to have small faith.
4 Ways to Strengthen Your Faith in Hard Times
1. Renew Our Mind.
How do we renew our mind?
Christian meditation is not like transcendental or New Age meditation. It doesn’t require you to empty your mind, but rather fill your mind with God’s Word until that Word completely changes you.
2. Refocus Our Emotions.
Emotions in and of themselves are not wrong. Jesus showed emotion: joy, sorrow, disappointment.
The problem is when they lead us, instead of us leading them, or when we believe what they tell us. How do we refocus our emotions and lead them?
When they lie to us, we combat them with the truth of God’s Word.
- God has left me. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
- This is too hard. I can’t walk this Christian life anymore! “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13
- I have no luck! What did I ever do to deserve this kind of a life with no hope! “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
3. Restore Our Vision.
Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the water around him.
Whenever we begin to look at the circumstances around us, at how sinners succeed in life while we follow biblical principles and are suffering for it, we will become envious.
We need to restore our vision.
We need to turn our gaze upward!
Being successful isn’t that important, but rather having eternal life! We can be successful and still go to hell where our success wont matter very much!
It would be better to have achieved nothing in this life, while remaining humble and faithful and go to heaven where we will receive a crown of life from Jesus’ hands and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 24:21)
4. Redirect our Defaults
I don’t know about you, but when things go wrong I often default back to my old thought life. “Nothing ever goes my way.” “I really have no luck!” “You idiot, you’re so dumb. You can’t do anything right!”
I am really trying to correct those thoughts, because they are not from God, but from Satan!
God doesn’t think I’m am idiot and that I can’t do anything right. I don’t believe in luck and a lot of things have “gone my way”, not because of me but because of God who has opened up amazing and miraculous doors!
But those old thought patterns destroy my faith. When I look at the circumstances around me, I take my eyes of Jesus and open the door for the enemy to lie to me with those old thoughts.
How we we redirect our defaults? By doing steps 1-3.
Dear friend, now is the time to strengthen your faith!
When you’re presented with the choice to stand for the Word or back down and save your reputation, that is not the time to decide to strengthen your faith.
No, we have to do that now so that when the time comes when we’re persecuted for righteousness’ sake we’re ready to leave everything behind and follow Jesus!