Hard Times

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do I have to go through these difficulties?” Or maybe: “What is being accomplished through this pain and heartache?” I know I’ve asked these questions of myself—and of God—numerous times. I have come to three conclusions why Christians must go through hard times:

  1. So that I know that I can trust God to help me pass this test.
  2. So that God will be glorified in helping me pass this test.
  3. So that others will know that God can help them pass their test.

These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when [not “if”] your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (1 Peter 1:7)

Others will see this and be encouraged to trust God too! Look what Thomas Paine wrote in The Crisis:

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”

So to help in your hard times, may this prayer from Charles Spurgeon encourage you:

The graces of the Christian character must not resemble the rainbow in its transitory beauty, but, on the contrary, must be established, settled, abiding.
 
May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock!
 
May your faith be no baseless fabric of a vision.
 
But may it be built of material able to endure that awful fire which shall consume the wood, hay, and stubble of the hypocrite.
 
May you be rooted and grounded in love.
 
May your convictions be deep, your love real, your desires earnest.
 
May your whole life be so settled and established, that all the blasts of Hell, and all the storms of earth shall never be able to remove you.

UPDATE: I shared a series of messages on this topic called Where’s God? You can check them out by clicking here

Pursuing

“They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves” (Jeremiah 2:5).

Simple principle: I become what I pursue.

Pursuing things that will not last into eternity is worthless, and the pursuit of them will make my life worthless too. Allow me to elaborate with a few modified quotes:

“For where your [pursuit] is, there your heart will be also” (Jesus).

“All [pursuits] that are not eternal are eternally useless” (C.S. Lewis).

“But more than anything else, put God’s [pursuits] first and do what He wants” (Jesus).

“The impulse to [pursue] God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are [pursuing] Him we are already in His hand” (A.W. Tozer).

“But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each of us has [pursued]. The fire will show if a person’s [pursuit] had any value” (Paul).

“The true worth of a man is to be measured by the objects he [pursues]” (Marcus Aurelius Antoninus).

“I love those who love Me, and those who [pursue] Me always catch Me” (God).

“‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will [pursue] his principles unto death” (Thomas Paine).

As each week wraps up, I’m trying to remember to ask myself, “Did I pursue the right things this week? Were my pursuits eternal and God-honoring?” Good questions. Perhaps you could take some time to assess your pursuits too.

Remember, you will become what you pursue, so pursue wisely.

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