Tough

As a family, just recently, we have been going through some stressful circumstances, which have been a really tough challenge for all of us. I found my faith being tested at every turn, and it wasn't always easy to keep my eyes on Jesus. It was during these hard times that the Lord taught me a very important lesson, and one I won't forget.

When situations started to get tough, I began to skip having my devotions in the morning. I began to feel depressed and felt like I 'couldn't be bothered'. If only I had made the effort to stay focused on Jesus, I wouldn't have felt the way I did and it would have been easier to see through the eyes of faith, instead of unbelief. One day, I felt the Lord say to me, “Your faith is strong when things are going well, but what about when times are hard, like now? That is when you need Me most”. I felt ashamed. Just when I needed my Saviour most, I had pushed Him aside - I had given in to the enemy and allowed my feelings to take over. Jesus taught me that it's when times are difficult we most need to keep our eyes on Him, and search the scriptures for encouragement and help to grow. God sends us challenges to make us better people, not to destroy us. When we face hard times, it's so easy to dwell on the bleak side of things, instead of 'counting our blessings' and keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord.

Persevering is one of the most important virtues we can ever learn as Christians - it takes perseverance to run the race of life. Giving up with a defeatist attitude can spoil our whole relationship with Christ. Instead, we can see through the eyes of faith and cling closer to Christ. It's all about having the right mindset. Are we going to face our troubles with unbelief and depression, or with joy and perseverance?

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1v2-4) Wow! What a difference! We are to count it pure joy when we face trials! Instead of having the attitude that says, "God doesn't care about me!" and "Things couldn't be worse!" we are to say, "What valuable lesson is God teaching me here?" and "Praise the Lord for this learning experience; that He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me!"

Trusting in God is the key to a successful relationship with Christ. God doesn't want us to have things easy all the time, because He wants us to depend on Him. What would our faith be to God if it wasn't tested from time to time?

Remember, when things look bleak, don't despair. We can't always see the whole picture, but God can, and He loves us and won't leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1v9). How comforting to know that we have a Friend to be with us and see us through the hard times!



This post was sent in by Rebekah Driscoll who is one of our readers.

20 comments:

  1. "Trusting in God is the key to a successful relationship with Christ"

    I totally agree with this statement. In fact, I'd go one step further. I'd quote worship leader Jason Upton: "I want to trust You (God), cause it's the purest form of worship."

    When we choose with our will to trust God, it breaks down the power that the enemy has over us, namely it breaks down discouragement. How can you be discouraged when you're trusting in Someone who has overcome death itself and has absolutely promised to never leave or forsake you?

    Trusting Gpd is not just something we should do, it's something we NEED to do.

    -Micah Engel (fellow reader)

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  2. Thank you so much Rebekah. This was really helpful to me as our family has been through some unhappy times recently too, and I knew exactly how you felt.
    Thank you for this encouragement,
    Esther

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  3. Thank you for this article! It really helped me see that I myself am not the only one going through tough times!I enjoyed the Bible verses... amazing that God puts people, blog post, email, ect. just to remind you "your not the only one!"

    Thanks again Rebekah!

    one question for the Walking Worthy blog members... Are you KJV? That is what I use as a Bible, just wondering. thanks!

    Stepheny

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  4. Thanks for this post, Rebekah!
    My family has had it share of "shadowed valleys" too and this was great to read.
    Trials certainly improve your faith in God's sovereignty at working out His perfect plan and in His timing, don't they?!
    Elspeth

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  5. Thanks for the reminder to persevere!
    Perseverance is vital; Although it is true that we are eternally secure in Christ ('of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing'), if we do not persevere, it is proof that we were not in Christ! As Paul says in Tim1:19: 'Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck'
    In contrast
    Matt 24:13But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
    There are many people who are warnings to us, who started well, and ended in ruin: Joash, Demas, etc.

    Psalm 73 is a wonderful passage regarding perseverance; the psalmist begins by confessing he is tempted to give up, but concludes, as you said, by viewing his situation through the eyes of faith:
    "You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
    Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
    My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

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  6. Thank-you for all your comments everyone! I totally agree with you Micah when you said that trusting in God is the purest form of worship. When we trust God, it is demonstrating complete and utter faith in Him and accepting the circumstance we are in, which is also demonstrating our love for Christ. When we do put our complete and utter faith in Him, we will stay close to Christ no matter what, praising Him and giving thanks in all things, which is the kind of worship He desires from us.

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  7. Thank you very much for this article Rebekah.

    It is great that you are contributing to our blog, we(Walking Worthy) are really grateful for the article you posted!

    In our Christian lives it is very easy to just shrug off daily devotions. I have found that without doing my morning devotions I am more likely to fall into sin. Yes it is hard to do devotions. Even when we aren't going through a tough time!

    A question: (For anyone to answer)

    Do you think that we have hard times because we don't do our Daily Devotions?

    It is important to note that by missing our Devotions we miss out one of the most important bits of our day: PRAYER. I used to not pray in my Devotions, but recently I have started to and its been both Good and Helpful. With Prayer we are definitely not likely to fall into Sin.
    PRAYER WILL KEEP YOU FROM SIN and SIN WILL KEEP YOU FROM PRAYER!!

    Anyway, Rebekah, thank you very much for the article.

    Jonah

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  8. Thanks for the comment Stepheny! In answer to your question, no we are not KJV. Between us we have different versions we prefer to use; these include many of the sound translations such as the NKJV, ESV, KJV, etc. We beleive that all of these are the pure and holy Word of God, as far as they are translated accurately.

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  9. Thanks for the encouragement, Jonah! In answer to your question, "Do you think we have hard times because we don't do our devotions?" When we 'skip' devotions, times can seem especially hard and full of problems, but I don't think that that is a result of not having devotions. As Christians, we are told in the Bible to expect hard times, but that's not because sometimes we skip devotions. We are told in the book of James to expect trials, which are there to work patience in us, and in First Peter we are told that if our faith is tested then we are to rejoice as it is being tried that it might be 'found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.' (1 Peter 1:6-7). If we skip devotions, we will probably feel within ourselves that we are facing harder times than usual, but that is probably because our attitudes are not right before God because we have not spent the time with Him that we should have done. When we spend time with the Lord in prayer and in reading His Word, we will always find hard times easier to face because our mindset is on Jesus, and we know that He is there to share our problems and carry our burdens; but when we don't spend time with the Lord, we will probably find that times 'seem harder,' and as a result we forget that the Lord is there to help us and see us through our difficulties. I hope this makes sense and doesn't sound too complicated. There are probably others who can shed more light on this than I can, but I hope it helps!

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  10. Thanks Walking Worthy. It's not a big deal, I was just wondering. :D

    Jonah-
    I don't think that missing one day of daily devotions would bring "hard times". But I do think that if we miss it would give us trouble through the day.... we would not have peace about anything, we would just plain be having a bad day... wich is really the Lord telling us we need to make time for Him! Now I do think that if we are missing all the time, say for a month or so, we are deffinetly going to have some "hard times" because the Lord will be trying to get our attention back on Him.

    Hope that answers your question.
    Steph

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  11. Yes.
    Thank you, Rebekah and Stepheny.

    You both gave really good points. Thank you for answering my question.

    Rebekah,: Yes I agree. I have found that if I skip devotions I missed a huge bit of my day. Devotions give you a head start. It helps keep you from sinning. Now that is pretty important! Praying really helps too. I have just started praying in my devotions. I have really found that amazing. I feel more Spiritually stable. Going to the prayer meeting would help give this.

    For any Christian reading this, PRAYER is a command! So GO TO THE PRAYER MEETING!! If you already do, keep on!! As young people we should be using every source(Cds, Sermons ect) and meetings and we should be sucking them in!! Every meeting there is in your Church, go to!! It will benefit us in our Spiritual journey, to heaven. That is part of WALKING WORTHY!!

    Stepheny: yep. Thats really helpful. Thank you(again) for that. Giving God our full attention is quite good!! In fact VITAL!

    Do you think that we should study God's word day and night?

    In the Bible we see people(lots) Who said that they studied God's word day and night . So what would you say?

    (for anyone now)
    Did you know that less than 5% of Christians ever read through all the Bible!!(not even once!) LETS CHANGE THAT!!

    WHO WILL EMBARK WITH ME BY READING THROUGH ALL THE BIBLE NEXT YEAR?(2010)

    On that Challenging note
    FAREWELL

    Jonah.

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  12. Thank-you for that challenge, Jonah, and for all your comments on prayer. I found that very helpful and encouraging, too. A visiting pastor at church one day said that the prayer meeting was the most important meeting that a Christian should attend. As you said, it is vital for us as Christians, as it builds us up spiritually and draws us closer to the Saviour, as well as keeping us from sin. I find that the longer I spend in prayer, the closer I feel to the Lord, and the stronger I feel to 'face the day.'

    Also, yes I think that the Bible should be read day and night. Psalm 1:1-2 says, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord: and in his law doth he meditate day and night." We can see here that the righteous man reads God's Word day and night, but he doesn't only read it, he meditates and delights in it! Not only are we to read God's Word, but we are to meditate upon it - truly 'digest' it and take it in; pondering over the meaning and applying it to our lives etc. And, of course, we are to delight in it - truly enjoy searching the Bible, for it is the Word of Life!

    And lastly, thanks again Jonah for your challenge at the end! I have nearly finished reading Revelation (as I have been reading through the N.T.) and I was wondering what to read next for my devotions after. God-willing, I will be embarking with you in reading through all the Bible next year!

    Rebekah.

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  13. Jonah,

    Actually, I will join you because, my church has a Read the Bible through the year program, and I am doing it this year!

    As for your question, I think it depends on your spiritual needs. If you are really struggling, then you will probably seek the Lord more. Just my thoughts!

    Stepheny

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  14. Just wondering if anyone would like to explain this verse to me.... Psalm 102 verse 2 "Hide not they face me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily." KJV
    Is the psalmist telling the Lord "what to do"? I know that no one can "tell the Lord what to do... " But what is he saying here?

    Does anyone want to give me a view on this verse? Thanks!

    Stepheny

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  15. Hi, Stepheny! That's a good question... No, I don't think that the psalmist is telling the Lord what to do. If we look at the whole of this psalm, we can see that this is a psalm of supplication to the Lord. The psalmist here is just beseeching the Lord not to turn away from him in the day of trouble, and to hear his cry and answer him quickly, because he needs His help and comfort. Really it's just the psalmist crying out to the Lord in his trouble, beseeching Him to help him swiftly because 'his heart is smitten.' (V.4)

    I hope this helps!

    Rebekah

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  16. Thank you Rebekah!

    Yes that does help... I see now! (after you explaining, and me reading through the whole chapter)

    Thanks again!
    Steph

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  17. Thank you Rebekah for this clear reminder that perseverance is one of the greatest virtues of a Christian man or woman. I must admit, with shame, that I have, in times past, left my devotions alone when times were hard, or when there was something that seemed much more exciting to do.

    Yet I often get to just the middle of the morning and find that, because I haven't spent time with the Lord, I am snappy, impatient with other people, and feeling very down in the dumps.

    (For anyone to answer): Do you ever get to the end of the day and feel that it has all come to nothing? I most certainly do - and that's mainly on the days that I haven't had any devotions.

    Jonah, Rebekah, and Stephany - I'll most definitely join you as you embark on reading the whole of the Bible next year. Ironically, earlier this year, I stumbled across a 'Bible In A Year' guide, and decided to read the whole Bible in 2010! I will very much enjoy having you guys for company! May the Lord help us to PERSEVERE!

    Thank you once again, Rebekah!
    Laura

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  18. It is great to see some good discussion! It is so true that spending time in God's Word daily and seeking his face in prayer is absolutely vital. It is a fact that is testified to by many Godly men and women throughout the ages, that in so far as you are setting yourself apart for God's service he will use you and when you are not he doesn't. It is also true that non of us can by our own motivation set ourselves apart for God. But God, being rich in mercy, works in us anyway!

    We know that everything God does he does for a purpose. We, as young people dedicated to serving Christ with everything which we have got, have been put in households for a reason. This can, I believe, have many implications one of which is sharing with our family the things God is teaching us. So as we learn about the importance of setting aside time everyday to God's Word and praying we should show the importance of that to our brothers and sisters and help them where we can. If it is a source of blessing to us why should we not share that with those who we love.
    anyway, I had better stop there or I this would turn into an essay.

    Keep Running, guys.

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  19. David van den Broek13 December 2009 at 22:35

    Hmm, interesting Thomas. Is it true to say that "in so far as you are setting yourself apart for God's service he will use you and when you are not he doesn't"? I think I understand what you are driving at but I am pretty sure there is at least one flaw in this statement, is it even we who set ourselves apart for God's service?

    I think some excellent points have been made with regards the subject of devo's - thanks especially to you, Rebekah, for pointing out that hard times do not come as a direct result of 'missing devotions', I would go even further and say; I think we may expect greater trials if we are living more consistent Christian lives (the Lord disciplines his children as a Father the son he delights in).

    It was shortly after I turned 16 that I came across a very godly man who encouraged me to set aside half an hour each morning to reading and prayer and I have found that to be an integral part of my day. I think men in particular can overlook the importance of putting quality time into relationships (and particularly relationship with the Lord) and instead expect the relationship to just 'happen' -but God commands us to listen to him and to pray to him (besides repeatedly telling us of the great benefits to be had through doing so).

    I think reading through the bible in one year is an excellent idea! Keep with it and encourage one another, your heavenly Father will strengthen you through this. I am very blessed in that my job has me spending between 2 and 4 hours on the road each day and a hunk of that time I am able to spend listening to audio bible, sermons etc. I have found great blessing in listening to one book repeatedly (proverbs recently), it's a great way of familiarising yourself with the bible. But Rebekah is right that we are to spend time meditating upon God's word not just reading it.

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  20. Ok, maybe I need to qualify that statement.

    Here are some Bible verses that indicate why I said what I said. Psalm 15 says that the only one who will dwell with God is the one who...(a whole list of good things the person does)basicly saying "the one who sets himself apart to God".

    another verse, perhaps more specific is Hebrews 12:14 "strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." So here we see that setting ourselves apart for him is vital.

    Now, we also know that "it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his own good pleasure." (Philipians 2:13)

    Such men as Spurgeon, Finney and Wesley testified that when they did not centre themselves on Christ in the whole of their lives they were not used by God as when they did set themselves apart for him.

    We, of ourselves lack any ability to 'set ourselves apart' or do anything but as christians we are not on our own. We have the Holy Spirit, He lives in us as his people. So, with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can set ourselves apart for God's service and we should.

    Hope that clears up a bit of the mess of my own making.

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