Hello, awesome people! I wrote today’s post as a bit of encouragement so that you can be comforted that even when times are tough you do not have to let them defeat you.
Sometimes life is hard and it can leave us wondering why certain things happened, but there is no need to despair. Hard things happen, but as Christians, we have strength. Luckily that strength is not out own. We have someone greater to turn to.
John 16:33 English Standard Version (ESV)
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
1 Peter 2:19-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.
1 Peter 3:17 English Standard Version (ESV)
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
The best reward a person can know is the love of their savior. Jesus died because he loved us dearly and wanted a relationship with us, and who wouldn’t want to see Him smiling down on them one day in Heaven (the Maker of the universe, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!)? Why would we not want to go through anything to please Him when He loves us more than our miniature brains could imagine?! Once a Christian, our goal should be to please God and be in His will.
1 Peter 3:14-16 English Standard Version (ESV)
But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
2 Timothy 3:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
Sometimes God’s will includes suffering. We are called to stand up for our Lord and endure suffering for Him if we love Him. Otherwise, we are not living truly godly lives. We would be denying Jesus constantly if we avoided suffering and persecution because this sinful world automatically rejects and hates Jesus and those who love Him. Indeed, we must expect to be attacked, but we are not alone. We have God on our side.
Luke 14:27 English Standard Version (ESV)
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Psalm 9:9-10 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Corinthians 12:9 English Standard Version (ESV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
We need to follow Jesus example of suffering, by resting in God. God is immensely pleased when we choose to hang onto him through suffering. God is with us through all hardships and will never forsake us. Willingly seeking for God in times of suffering shows a heart for Him. Sometimes I want to be independent and say, “I got this, I’m not going to let this hardship get me down,” but when I try on my own I end up feeling worse and worse. I can say from experience, that God’s comfort is immensely superior to me trying to comfort myself.
Hundreds of Christians have been killed, brutally tortured, or persecuted for not renouncing Jesus. That was not pleasant for them (they are humans and react naturally to pain). They did not force themselves to “grin and bear it,” or flounder through the pain and feel sorry for themselves, but they instead turned to the Lord who blessed them with comfort and peace in their spirit because of their faith.
God’s power is shown through our weakness to us and others. I have seen this amongst my own family members as well as in my own life. I see God’s greatness clearly when I feel weak. We can rejoice in our weakness because God’s power can be shown so sharply. If we choose to hide in our weakness or wallow in it, we are either way rejecting God’s power to uplift our spirits in hard times.
Romans 5:3-5 English Standard Version (ESV)
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
James 1:2-4 English Standard Version (ESV)
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
God tests our faith through trials, and steadfastness means to endure patiently. Trials need to have their full effect, by producing even greater faith in us, and sometimes they are long and hard. God is shaping us through them to be more like Jesus. Some trials won’t end till we leave this earth, but we can still have joy in Christ. I have seen evidence of suffering Christians everywhere who have faith in God to deliver them from it but are content if He has them endure until even death.
Matthew 5:10 English Standard Version (ESV)
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
James 1:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
Romans 8:18 English Standard Version (ESV)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
In Heaven, there will be no more pain and sorrow. There will be Jesus and we will dwell with Him in His love forever. The world wants to smite our love for Jesus and force us to dwell on the things of the present, but that is a waste of time when we could be working towards Heaven instead of the diminutive things on earth where, by the way, our time is extremely short. If we can stand the test by grasping Christ through the trials on earth, we are preparing for the glory in Heaven to come.
Matthew 11:28-29 English Standard Version (ESV)
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Psalm 73:26 English Standard Version (ESV)
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Life is hard sometimes and that means we will cry at times or ask the Lord “why?” I have learned recently that crying just means we need God and His love. In our sadness, God is with us, and He is our strength. Jesus loves us and we can rest in Him. As long as we turn to him instead of ourselves or other earthly supposed “comforts” we can have peace, and we can grow to be more like Christ.
Big Trials = Bigger Hearts
Call me cheesy, but I would like to end with the children’s song:
Jesus loves you this I know, for the Bible tells you so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but he is strong! Yes, Jesus loves you! Yes, Jesus loves you! Yes, Jesus loves you! The Bible tells you so. 🙂
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