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. And through Him and because of Him, hard times make you 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.”
I learned to patiently keep going
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. In truth, 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.
Bible verses about enduring hard times
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
“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
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 BSB
God brings us through our trials
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:
Pam, you’ve shared so many essentials required for good character, for the strength to do what’s right, for the ability to persevere, and for the perseverance to see our pursuits come to fruition.
What you learned about not complaining when work is hard, not quitting when it takes a long time — thus allowing you to arrive at mastery of a skill. This is essential.
What perseverance you learned when you kept at it, no matter how slow your progress, when you held onto an attitude that was good — all of this helped you in during difficult times.
In all of this, as you stated, knowing God, pursuing him so that you can know him better, requires all of those qualities that come from the pursuit of skills. In this case, however, it’s the pursuit of Christ, the tenacity to keep following him during hard times, the self control to sit down in front of God’s Word each day, the humility and good attitude to cry out to him in humility.
And then, we can reap the fruit of what you said here: “His power and love are always available to those who seek them. And His power and love can get you through.” The more we pursue him, the more he provides us with the strength and ability to continue to pursue him. The pursuit produces the growth and the ability to pursue. This is such an informative and strengthening post filled with encouragement.
Yes, amen, Melinda. It is the constant walk with our Lord Jesus Christ, being trained by the Holy Spirit, that give us the wisdom to look beyond daily trials – to bear up and then fill up with joy despite all.
I love the title of Maya Angelou’s book, “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now.” That resonates with me. It’s been a long, hard walk at times, but the strength I have gained from encountering trials with Jesus beside me is priceless.
I love being both tough and kind – I only want to keep doing it better!
Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory
Thank you, John, for those wonderful scriptures in your comment. Yes, God makes us glad no matter what is going on. “In His presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11
My strongest year of growth was also my most painful. But I love the distinction you made: what doesn’t kill us doesn’t necessarily make us stronger. We have to rely on Christ and seek him diligently and consistently. (Your journal devotional helped me with that btw.) I appreciate the piano playing analogy and believe the practice of perseverance has helped strengthen me through new trials. I also like how you mentioned that we must be as strong as diamonds while maintaining a soft heart; only Jesus can accomplish this!
Thank you, Candice. Perseverance is such a wonderful attribute to gain. It took me a while and a lot of coaching by the Lord. I too easily would quit in frustration and lack of hope. But no more! God is so good to help us gain such great strength.
Struggles really do strengthen us. They also always us proof of how God is always with us. Each new struggle causes me to think back to previous ones and how God stood by me. Then I have more courage to carry one. Thanks
That is so true, Yvonne.In the past, I didn’t think pain and struggle was so great. I still don’t but now I know how they give me spiritual muscle just like push-ups give me physical muscle.
Difficult times are definitely an opportunity to lean in close to God and know He walks with you. This is a timely post for me. Thank you for sharing these words.
I agree. “In the wilderness, God speaks,” it says in Hosea. We don’t like those wilderness times, but we can find His presence there so powerfully and come out so much stronger. Thanks for “stopping by” Rebecca.