Some days, life just seems hard. The days look dark. Uncertain times and stress mount up high. An unexpected diagnosis or devastating loss can feel too difficult to face.
Though our faith is usually most strengthened in the trying times of life, it’s often hard to walk that out while we’re swirling in the midst of it all. We long for carefree days, yet God takes our hand and leads us straight into the darkest of times. Not to harm us, but to bring greater strength, character, trust, beauty, and perseverance to the deepest part of our souls.
For those who need fresh hope today, remember, you are never defined by the wrong things that happen to you, by difficult circumstances or hard seasons you’ve walked through. Here is His powerful truth about those dark seasons:
“You are mine, you have purpose, you are loved, you are beautiful, you are courageous, you are called and redeemed for my purposes…” Even through all the hard days. Especially through the hard days.
If you’ve been holding onto baggage from difficult times, or find yourself still stuck in a hard season, maybe clutching to past mistakes because it’s hard to let go and move forward; then maybe this is your new day. This is the time to drop the burdens you’ve carried around for way too long, so you can live free.
Look back, learn all that God has for you, see what strength and beauty He has built within you through the difficult days, then keep moving on. Confident in Him. Stronger. Restored. Redeemed. Free.
What God Teaches Us Through Our Most Painful Moments:
1. He teaches us that he is bigger than what we are experiencing.
“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.” – Jeremiah 32:17
God often reminds us through the toughest times in life that He is bigger than any storm we may face. He’s greater than the problem, the obstacle, the giant, and the fear. Nothing is impossible for Him. He is a God of miracles who is constantly working on behalf of His children, even in the dark where we can’t fully see. Because we can be confident of this one truth, we can also trust Him, fully.
We may not understand it all now, and we may never this side of heaven, but God is always faithful. He works in ways that are powerful and far greater than we could have ever imagined. And He can do in just a moment, what might take years for us to work through on our own.
Jesus came to give us life, abundant and free, but the enemy strives against that, and comes to try and steal, kill, and destroy all the good. It’s true, we will have to wrestle against hard things, this world is not perfect, but God’s power is still greater than the works of darkness and far stronger than anything we may face here.
2. He teaches us to have greater perseverance.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4
God prepares our minds for battle in His Word, for He says “when” you face trials, not “if.” We will. We all will face hard things. Not because God is somehow unable to protect us or help us, but because this world is not a perfect place, and He knows that we will grow stronger through every trial and struggle, as we set our eyes on Him.
He reminds us that His work in the hardship is greater than what we might be able to see at the moment we’re in it. But He will never waste our pain. He says, “the testing of our faith produces perseverance.” Endurance. It’s how athletes train. We get squeezed. It’s hard. And maybe we don’t know at times that we’re going to be able to make it through. But He’s there, right with us, in the midst of every storm.
So we can lean in, and He holds us secure, until we can finally step through to the other side. That’s often when we notice most; we’re not the same person anymore. Our faith is strengthened. Our character is deeper. Our roots are stronger. Our perseverance is greater. Because we’ve had to rely on Him, like never before.
3. He teaches us that resting in Him is vital.
“Be still and know that I am God…” – Psalm 46:10
One of the hardest things I’ve learned in life, especially in the tough times, is simply this:
Be still, more.
When we’re often so prone to hurry and worry, this can feel like such a challenge. But don’t ever let the pressures of what you’re facing get in the way of just spending much-needed time in God’s Presence. It’s truly the most important minutes of our day; getting still, reflecting on who He is, and who we are in Him. Learning to rest in Him is not laziness. It’s never time wasted.
It will only bring peace to your spirit and strength to your day. Don’t ever buy into the lie that you don’t have time, or it won’t make a difference anyway. It will, truly it will, many of us have walked it out, and we’ve seen the impact it makes, on our lives and all those around us!
Maybe everything hasn’t gone as planned for you this year so far. Maybe times seem hard or you’re not sure what God is doing through this difficult season you’re in right now. But whatever’s concerning you, entrust it to our Powerful God, it’s the safest place to let it go. Pray, talk to Him. He knows all that concerns you and He cares. Read His words and pray them back to Him. Hold on to every promise of hope. Think about them day and night. Write them down, hang them up around your house, or put them in your car. God’s truths and time spent with Him will help us to quit spinning into cycles of worry, as we keep our hearts and focus on Him.
4. He teaches us that joy is a choice.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” – Philippians 4:4
Joy is a choice, but wow, it can be a hard choice to make in tough times. Real joy is not something we can just drum up on our own, or try to put on a fake, happy face, pretending everything’s OK. It’s far more than that. It’s authentic. It’s real. And it’s powerful. The Bible is clear that we need to “choose” to have joy during seasons of difficulty. And that the “joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
If we need that extra power boost of strength in our day, joy is going to help us walk there. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy by listening to his lies. Focus on the truth of God’s word, step over his traps. Know that the reason it’s so important to us, and that the devil hates it so much, is because it’s where greater power is found for those hard places we’re walking. God is faithful to help us and there are far greater things still ahead!
5. He teaches us that forgiveness = freedom.
“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” – Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness towards those who have wronged us, or even towards ourselves for past mistakes, can be the hardest thing we face sometimes. We can get over the hurdles and obstacles of tough times, but betrayal, broken relationships, and deep hurt can leave wounds that seem to stay open too long. It’s hard to find peace again. We want to quickly “get over it” or pretend like it didn’t even happen.
Other times, forgiveness just doesn’t “feel” right. It may somehow seem like we have a right to stay angry, or even to seek revenge. But forgiveness, no matter how we may feel, is always the right choice. And it’s the only way we can truly move on, past the hurt, or the painful circumstance, towards the freedom that God desires we walk in. It may not happen all it once, most times it’s a daily choice to keep walking in forgiveness.
We might even think it’s over and done with, and then a memory pushes the buttons again and we realize it’s still a work in progress. Don’t give up. God understands the pain you’ve carried. Jesus Himself walked through huge betrayal and hurt from those who walked closely with Him. He is the One who holds the power to redeem even the most difficult of circumstances. And He can heal the brokenness that has devastated our lives.
6. He teaches us deeper humility, peace, and dependency on Him.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7
Sometimes God gives us things that we never dreamed we could handle. Because really, we can’t. He knows it’s too big for us, so it draws us to rely on Him, to allow His Spirit to give us the strength we need to keep pressing through. There’s nothing like a fierce trial or difficult circumstance to break the pride in our lives wide open. As hard as it may be, if we’re willing to allow God to work change within our hearts, hard times give opportunity for Him to bring deeper humility and more reliance on Him.
There’s nothing we need more in this life than a relationship with Christ our Lord. He is the One who never changes, He is our stability in hard times, our rock and refuge. Difficult times have the power to either push us away and lead us towards bitterness, or to reach out and cling to God because we know there’s no other way we’re going to get through.
Here’s truth that many of you may know from walking through difficult times: Peace is never dependent on our circumstances. Jesus is where true peace is found. Our world may be swirling around us, but He promises to keep in perfect peace, those whose minds and hearts are focused on Him.
7. He teaches us to trust in His purpose, even through the dark seasons.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” – Job 23:13
As much as difficult times may take us by surprise, God is never surprised. He knows our way and has a plan. He promises to bring us out “as gold,” with deeper strength from within, greater destiny and purpose for all that He’s called us to do. He will never waste the hard seasons in our life but will use them all to work out His perfect plans and design.
We are not in control, most of us know that very well from life circumstances, but we live for the One who is. And when circumstances seem difficult and press us down, we can remain confident that God hasn’t lost control. He sees all, knows all, and He is working on our behalf even when we can’t fully see what’s still around the bend. His word reminds us that He can bring beauty from the ashes.
Every mark of darkness from the ashes will eventually fall away, every shifting shadow, every struggle and deep pain. But His power remains. He carries us when we can’t find our way, He pulls us out of a pit of despair, and promises to be with us always.
You’re never left on your own fighting darkness. Don’t ever believe that lie. He is there right with you. He is close. And He fights for you today.
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