Today I am sharing about Difficulty, and some of what I have come to find about the Lord through the hard things of our lives.
We all have trouble in this life. Each of us experience things that are simply difficult. In fact the Bible speaks quite a bit to difficulty. Jesus said this:
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
I used to think that God was going to fix all my difficulty. That the overcoming that Christ spoke of was to do with the stuff of this world. That God was simply magic applied to my life. That I could pray and all of a sudden the hard stuff would go away.
I have found that this is not so.
I have learned that God does not fix our lives so much as He wants to walk alongside us in our lives.
The overcoming of the world that Christ speaks of is the process of finding God in the midst of the worst things, and in turn finding our strength from the inside out.
“The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9
Will our lives get better and better with God in the mix, for sure.
Will all our troubles go away? No, they won’t.
Difficulties are the refining fire that proves our love for God, proves our walk alongside Him, and establishes us as trustworthy in His kingdom.
The pressures of life test and prove what we have inside us.
“He will sit like a refiner of silver, burning away the dross. He will purify the Levites, refining them like gold and silver, so they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.” Malachi 3:3
Are we interested in God because he is going to help us, or are we interested in God because we love him and want to be in his company, and to serve in His kingdom?
The Levites were the priests of the Lord. Chosen by Him to serve Him in the temple. Today we are all priests. Chosen by God, cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and it is the difficulties that purify us.
Difficulty purifies our motives.
Difficulty also strengthens us.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5
Like carrying a load of wood or jugs of water, we start off with our small muscles and can only carry so much.
But then we are able to carry more. Our muscles are stronger. Our strength is increased.
This is what difficulties do for us. They grow our inner muscles. Difficulties grow our character and our wisdom and our resilience.
Difficulties are not something that happens to us, but rather they are for us.
“Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.” Ecclesiastes 7:3
God uses difficulties to prepare you and I for the assignments in His kingdom.
There is no way around difficulty.
Each of us must travel through the various difficulties that have come to us.
For sure many of our troubles are our own doing, but many of them are not. And it doesn’t even matter as much as we think, for God will use the difficulties to do a work in our life.
“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.” Psalm 71:20
Once we have faced difficulties we are stronger. Once we have faced the worst things and found God in the midst of it all, we are not so afraid of difficulties anymore.
The thing is, difficulties never go away. Even when we reach success, success brings its own set of difficulty.
There will always be hard things. And we have a choice to either fight God in the midst of our trouble or to grow and mature under the hard things.
“In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.” 2 Corinthians 6:4
Unfortunately some of us take our difficulties to others. We want someone to save us and to make it better.
Or we take our frustration and anger out on those closest to us, hurting others as a result.
None of which will grow the fruit that we want. We want inner strength, not destroyed relationships. We want maturity and integrity, not child-like frustrations thrown on other people.
Each of us are responsible for our own lives. And this starts in the inner place between ourselves and God. That place where we take the difficulties and we work them through with God.
Where we find His strength in the midst of our weakness.
“So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” 1 Peter 4:19
Once we stop fighting difficulty, we become better equipped to deal with them well; to grow in wisdom and knowledge, to add to our faith with understanding and a bigger perspective.
Most important we find God in new and fresh ways when in the midst of difficulty.
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:2 NLT
Will life get better and better as we walk with Him? Yes it will.
But not because life changes necessarily (although it will by and by), but more importantly because we change. And when we change, everything changes.
Thanking God for our difficulties is the starting place. Where we give a sacrifice of praise even in the difficulty, we are most blessed.
“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7
God responds to this kind of faith and heart. Our lives will not be the same.
“Thank-you God for our troubles. Thank-you for bringing us difficulty that refines us and purifies our hearts before you. We are glad that you have trusted us with hard things, knowing that we are equipped and strengthened in this. We trust you with the hardships of our lives. We invite your hand into our troubles, but just as much we ask that you would teach us everything we need to know as we face our difficulties. May we see the hard stuff as opportunities to come to know you more. Thank-you Father that you walk alongside us through the middle of all our trouble. We bless your name today. Amen”
Troubles in one shape or another will always be with us. Today lets dedicate our lives to God regardless of our circumstances and difficulty.
Regardless of the trouble we praise you Lord!
God’s grace and peace over you in the midst of all your lives.