I don’t know about you but when hard times come I just want them over, as quickly as possible.
There’s something natural within us that says, “I wanna get out from an uncomfortable situation” as soon as possible. The harder the situation the more that desire increases to just get out and get away from tough times! In some ways tough times can feel like a weight that we are carrying. A weight that is too much and we don’t think we are going to make it.
Sometimes life-changing situations come along in a split second. When those trials come we just wanna get through that time and get onto more peaceful easy times. I think that’s very natural and that’s certainly what I long for.
The trouble is when God decides to allow a tough time to come into our lives it can feel like He doesn’t care or doesn’t know what’s happening. It’s so easy for our focus and energy to be on whatever the tough thing is that’s in front of us. But as I read God’s Word, I start to see that God always has a purpose, for everything! I totally understand this purpose may well be the best thing but most of the time it’s not the easiest thing. That’s what makes looking to God in tough times so hard.
For me it comes down to responding to tough situations and trials with fear or with faith. Right now in this time of so much change in our lives I understand and I resonate with the response of fear. We have gone through so much change in the last three years. To be honest, the last thing I want right now is more massive change. There is a very real part of me that, as a human being, just wants consistency and comfort. I long for some level of normality. I don’t want to move homes again and I don’t want to say goodbye to people we love.
However I am not just a human being, I am a blood-bought child of God. The response of faith calls us to look to God and not to our situations. This whole issue of fear or faith is the challenge of James chapter 1 verses 2 to 4. James starts off by saying count it all joy when trials come. I have read that many times but that phrase still seems so unnatural.. What God is saying here by the word consider, is we should ponder, we should think about what’s going on. He says all of those tough times of various kinds should be met with a joy that goes beyond circumstances. Joy is a soul gladness that comes from looking at tough times and knowing that God isn’t being vindictive, spiteful, or losing His grip. Whatever is happening in your life and in mine is all part of God’s plan. There might be a lot of reasons for that plan, but these trials have a purpose. That purpose goes well beyond just getting us through the next day or getting us through the time of transition, as in our case, there’s something much bigger going on.
That bigger thing is God is trying to grow our faith, our endurance. I just started this class at our local recreational center called ‘Body Pump’. It’s so fun but so hard. I haven’t done weights for so long. It takes pain to grow my endurance. But here I am now over a month in, and I’m noticing that I’m able to exercise with more weight.
My friend, that’s what is going on through tough times and tests. God is calling you to look to Him as He tries, examines and seeks to grow our faith. God has many purposes for what you are going through. One of those purposes is that you are growing in endurance in your faith.
Remember that God is in control, that God has a plan, that God is all powerful and God is all knowing. God loves you selflessly and sacrificially. So I encourage you with the same challenge that God laid on my heart this past week. Rather than trying to get out from underneath that tough time as soon as possible, start looking to God. Start asking Him what is His plan a purpose in all of this. Start looking to the character and nature of God in His word and not how you feel.
I hope that helps you as it’s helped me these past few days.