So I was asked to write an article on “How to get through a hard time.” My first response was (I’m guessing) like many of you….”Ha! Great question; I’ll let you know!” Here’s the thing about hard seasons that I’m sure you already have experienced; you’ve either just come through one, OR you’re about to enter one. I don’t say that as a downer, but I am a realist. In fact, I’m in the middle of a reasonably difficult season myself. So why don’t we take this little trip together and see if we don’t land somewhere encouraging and hopeful? I feel confident we will.
“I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God! Don’t quit. I’ll say it again, Stay with God.” Ps. 27:13-14 (msg)
“The Lord will never give you more than you can handle.” People say this often, and I know the heart of it is to encourage, but a little while ago, I found myself in a doozy of a situation. I was way beyond my realm of experience, so I had a heart-to-heart with God and told Him, “Hey, I thought You wouldn’t give me more than I could handle.” I could almost hear Him chuckle at me the way my Dad used to when he had the answer but was waiting for me to chill out and let him help. So, I leaned in and repeated, “I thought You wouldn’t give me more than….” I stopped. Oh man, this is good. I sensed Him saying, “ I won’t. I didn’t; I wouldn’t. Take a deep breath. Give it to me!” And there it was; PEACE. He will never give us more than HE can handle. It’s not up to us. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. He cares for us and has the solution to every little and big thing that makes up the hard seasons. Just call out to Him, and He WILL ANSWER. He’ll reveal the mysteries, the things we don’t know. (Jeremiah 33:3)
Invite Him into your mess.
Ask Him the hard questions.
He’s big enough to handle it.
Here’s another little something that has helped me immensely in tough times. Do you know how it’s super easy to get all wrapped up in the daily stuff? How one day can it feel like the whole world is crashing down and nothing will ever be good, normal, or happy again? Sometimes the diagnosis takes your breath away, or the job loss yanks the rug out from under you, or you’re convinced the little cherub you raise and call your own has sealed their fate in juvenile detention with a random act of mischief…. Depending on the day, it could very well be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. You’re ready to give up. You feel alone, hopeless, frustrated, betrayed…all the things at once. I was there. I was so disappointed with God. But, again, we were having another heart-to-heart when a thought broke through every bit of chaos and doubt in my mind.
“Daydream the best case scenario.”
So, that’s what I began to do. Because here’s the deal, you can spend all of your time fretting and worrying about what might go wrong. And it might. But guess what? It might not. So why not spend time aligning your thoughts with His thoughts instead? Think of the best-case scenario, start playing it out, and PRAYING it out. No matter how it ends, God walks you through it and is still with you on the other side. His mind has never changed, and neither has his character. He’s always good. He’s always faithful. He’s always loving and always for you. Even when life circumstances try to convince you otherwise. He is a Firm Foundation. The Rock of Ages. Our Living Hope. Jehovah all-the-things-and-whatever-you-need-right-this-very-minute. Look it up; there’s seriously a name of God for everything. And when you glance in the rear-view mirror at that big nasty season that you thought would take you out, you’ll see it didn’t. But it did reshape you and filled you with faith you wouldn’t have had, had you not gone through that season. You’ll see He is Jehovah Shalom; nothing is missing, nothing broken.
Lean in and listen for His voice to lead you through the valley and by still waters. (Psalm 23)
The final thing, which is the main thing and should always be the first, is this. Open up your Bible! Don’t be stubborn. Don’t google it or drive to the nearest bookstore to scour the shelves for a self-help manual or phone a friend (even though those resources have their place). Instead, make it your first instinct to connect with The Source of all wisdom and revelation through His Word. When you do this, you’ll be amazed at how promises just leap off the pages and nestle their way into your mind, mouth, and situation. It just works. I promise you. Godly wisdom from Him will carry you much further than earthly wisdom, and not only will it carry you, it will sustain you long after your situation has been resolved. His word never returns void and performs precisely as it is sent. So send the promises of God into your situation and let them work on your behalf. You just stand firm and watch what God does. He perfects everything that concerns you. So, get your hopes up!
Finally, a word of encouragement to you. You are not alone. Ask God to bring friends alongside you that you can share with and pray with and for. The enemy likes to lie to you and tell you that you won’t make it and that no one understands what you’re going through. He’s a total lying liar! No one is immune from tough seasons. And the ones who reach out, speak out, and link arms with one another, get through them with prayer, tears, and laughter (because who doesn’t love a well-placed joke to break the tension) and live to tell the testimony. That, my friends, is how we overcome a hard time! I WILL see you on the flip side, and it’s gonna be so good. Trust me. Better yet, TRUST GOD! Lean into Him. He never fails.
“And they overcame and conquered him because of the
Blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony,
For they did not love their life and renounce their
Faith even when faced with death.” Rev. 12:11 (amp)