Have you ever gone through a tough time and thought “Why God?” Have you ever been through a season of life when it seems everything is against you and you just can’t continue? Have you ever been in times of despair and thought “I give up, I’m too tired, I’m worn out, and I just want an easier life”? These moments of despair and difficulty often show us what we truly depend on, and where our happiness is found.
As Christians, we are often told that God will not give us more than we can handle. We are tempted to believe the lies, which say, “If you’re faithful, you’ll be rewarded here on earth and life will be easy.” FALSE. We are not promised an easy life or that we will be given earthly rewards when we give to charity or tithe at church. However, we do have hope in Christ and the beautiful truth that through Him we have eternal salvation, and we get to serve and glorify Him for the rest of the age.
We have been commanded in all things to glorify Christ. This command is not reserved for only the “good days”. This command is for the days when no kid sleeps and there are tantrums left and right, when you had to cancel that trip you desperately needed to relax because of a pandemic, when a loved one is on their death bed or has a diagnosis that will affect them daily, or when work is just too much. The list could go on. You get the picture. In every season of life, we ought to glorify Christ. So, what do we do when we are in seasons of trouble? What do we do when we don’t feel like praising the Lord? What do we do when we cannot find joy in our circumstances?
I think there are some practical things that we can do each day in order to keep our focus on Christ and not on our earthly situations:
Count it all joy and rejoice in the Lord
In August, I took up the challenge to memorize James 1. To be honest, I chose this passage because I had already memorized some of it for seminary, so I felt like I had a head start. However, I wasn’t prepared for the impact James 1 would have on my life during this season. Throughout the chapter, James describes two different men. One who is of the Lord, keeps His eyes on the Lord, and does as the Word commands. The other is one who sees his faith dependent on what God gives him and does not “do” but only is a hearer of the Word. In the beginning of James 1 it tells us to “Count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds.” We are called to find joy in every trial and every circumstance we meet. But Why? Because we know that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Steadfastness means “to be immovable” or, “firmly fixed.”
These trials that we face are to produce an immovable type faith where we never waiver from the truth found in Scripture. Our eyes should always be on Christ no matter what we face. In order to do this, we must find our joy in Christ. Think about the blessings God has given you in the past year or month. We must remind ourselves each day that He is always faithful and continually shows us a steadfast love even when we are unfaithful.
As a result of this, we should rejoice and praise God. Throughout Psalms you read of David, Asaph, and others in tough situations. The conclusion they come to each time is that God is king & creator over everything and deserves to be praised. They choose (even in the midst of hardship) to praise God simply because of who He is. Job was stripped away of earthly possessions and status that he had. His family was taken away and so was his health. Yet, he chose to praise God even in the midst of despair.
When is the last time you sat in awe of God and praised Him simply because He created all things and saved your soul when you were His enemy? When was the last time you praised God for the breath that you have in your lungs? Have you been quick to praise God in your life even in the midst of hardship or despair? He deserves all the praise no matter our situation.
Be consistent in prayer, fellowship, and studying the Word
Because we are children of God we should desire to learn about Him and be in constant communication with Him. God is sovereign and knows all things, so why do we ever think we don’t need Him? We might not verbally say we don’t need God, but do our actions show it? We do not live independent lives. Rather than relying on our own strength, we are to be dependent on the one who created us and saved us from our sins. Seeking the Lord through prayer and by reading the Word of God will help keep our eyes fixed on Him even in the midst of hardship. God’s will for our lives is to be sanctified; to be more like Christ. Christ endured the cross with joy. Likewise, we are to respond to trials with joy. How does this happen? Through the Spirit applying God’s Word to our hearts.
In addition, we should also be constant in our fellowship with our church body. I feel that the pandemic has become an excuse to forsake the body of Christ. It’s easier to skip fellowship or just watch service online. I do understand if you have health issues or in the high-risk category to not meet in person, but if you are choosing to not meet with the body simply out of convenience, then you have missed the purpose of the church body. God has created us for community. We need the body of Christ more than we think. The body is meant to encourage, love, challenge, and point us to Christ. So often, it’s the hard moments of life when we want to draw away from our church family, but I would argue those are the moments you need your brothers and sisters the most.
Be a student of the gospel
The gospel isn’t just a message for non-Christians. Christians need it too. The gospel message is the anchor of our souls. It’s our hope in life and death. The gospel is the good news of how wretched sinners can be reconciled to a Holy God through the substitutionary of Christ. We deserved death, yet God gave use life. The gospel should change the way we live and think, no matter our circumstances. We can rejoice in the Lord and find joy in all things because of the beauty that this world is not our home, and that we are headed towards glory. We seek to glorify and honor Christ because of the gospel. We should never forget the gospel and should always be quick to preach the gospel to ourselves and others.
I know life is hard. Trust me, our family has faced many trials in life, and we continue to do so. I know that there are days when you don’t think that you can praise God or remember the blessings, He has given you. Friends, please listen. Hardships come, seasons come and go, but the one thing that will always stay the same is God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to His people. May we live today with the remembrance of the Gospel and rejoice in all situations.
Soli Deo Gloria,
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