Hard Times Come To Us All
Several prayer requests came to me this morning from groups of people with whom I am involved – people sick with coronavirus, several quarantined and unable to get to work, a little baby only 8 days old very ill, and so on. There are so many struggles, hardships and worries that can come into our lives. Hard times come to us all. Sickness is one source of trouble, but difficulties come in many forms. You may be overwhelmed right now. Praise God that we can take these challenging situations to Him. Through these hard times He can make us stronger.
Hard Times Make Us Want to Quit. Don’t!
Years ago, I took piano lessons from a marvelous 75 year old woman named Lucienne.
Lucienne was an extraordinary pianist. She had studied at the Paris Conservatory of Music with renowned pianists. “You can strive or you can settle where you are” was her perspective on life. Over and over again, she had me practice small segments of difficult music at a turtle pace. “One day when you sit down, without even trying, your fingers will fly,” she would say each week. “Practice small bits of music 500 times if it takes that. You don’t have to brag about it,” she teased. Her meaning was “be tough”. Don’t quit before you overcome what challenges you.
And she was right. One day my fingers flew across the keys. Suddenly I had the speed and skill I never dreamed I could achieve.
As she often said, “You learn these lessons on a piano, but they apply to all of life.”
What I learned was not to complain when the work was hard, not to quit when mastery was a long time coming. Her love and coaching spurred me on. With them, I gained the sense that I had a lot more staying power and strength than I ever realized, which was a marvelous lesson.
We all need to discover what I found through this training. We are far stronger and much more able than we realize.
God Helps Your Hard Times Make You Stronger
But learning piano and getting through a chronic illness, or serious debt, or some other frightening challenge is a different matter. Yet is it?
The lessons of keeping at it, going slow and steady, having a good attitude, etc. all help in the difficult times of our lives. The greatest thing of value, however, is knowing God is with you. He will help you through your hard times. His power and love are always available to those who seek them. And His power and love can get you through.
He may provide a miracle of healing and overcoming, or He will supply the ability to live well in the midst of struggles that do not readily go away. These verses help us declare that this is so:
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 NIV
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 BSB
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 BSB
All the above words are beautiful statements of truth. God is a loving Father, who brings us through our trials and makes us robustly strong as a result of them. As Lucienne taught me to play like a virtuoso, our God teaches us to live life with fearlessness and the ability to endure. Consider these words from James:
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4 NIV
God Makes Us Strong Like Diamonds
Endurance is the gift we gain from struggles. Just as diamonds are formed from crystals of carbon put under a combination of high temperatures and extreme pressure, so we become resilient believers, not fooled by the devil, not swayed by daunting circumstances. As we trust in God and listen for what He can do for us and in us, we gain endurance, invincible faith and become “perfect and complete lacking nothing.”
This takes close walking and truly leaning on and into God. He wants to help you be as tough as you can possibly be while retaining a soft heart for others. God will make you stand consistently “tall.” Hard times are the seasons where He accomplishes it.
For more on God’s help in our struggles, read about: