As we go about life, we have good times and we have hard times. When the going is good, we laugh, and we play, and we share and help others. We say, “Praise the Lord.” But when times turn rough and our sky darkens with turmoil, we fret, we grow anxious, our problems grow, and we say, “The Lord is angry with us and has abandoned us.”
1 Peter 1:6-7
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 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 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.”
For every generation since the beginning, we have thought this exact same way. We relate good times to God being happy with our behavior and we relate hard times to God’s discipline or abandonment. But we must understand the Character of God if we want to experience His peace and rest for our souls. We can simply ask for peace and rest, but if we understand who God is, we will experience an even greater peace and rest.
In this Scripture above, Peter is telling us that times of struggle are times of building our faith. As we go through the difficulties of life, we get stronger. Our faith, confidence, and hope grow’s as we see that we made it through in one piece. Next time, the same type of struggle will seem like less of an issue. It will take a larger hardship next time to knock us down, if at all.
James 1:2-3 also backs this Scripture up:
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”
God is with us even when it feels like He isn’t
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
If it feels like God has abandoned you, it’s probably just that God is ahead of you and waiting for you to catch up.
When we develop a deeper relationship with God, we can start to see that He is a faithful God who never abandons us. He is there in the storm with us and He is strengthening us. In this Scripture, Joshua was about to take over for Moses to lead God’s people into the Promised land. So, Moses was giving a final speech to the people to be strong and courageous in this hard situation and to trust God through it.
This was a big time of testing for the people – the same people who spent forty years in the wilderness complaining and not trusting God. But in this scenario, the time had come when God was ready to lead them into the land that was promised to them. This was God’s Will and timing.
What we must understand is that God has a Will, a desire, and He has a plan for each of us and this world. The difference between our plans and God’s plans is that His always succeed. God doesn’t want a single person to perish in any way, so His desire is to strengthen us to prepare us for greater times of testing.
When we acknowledge this and become obedient to Him, He can then work with us. We can then learn faster. When we study God, we start to see that He tested all His people in various ways. As we mature in this, we learn to not see hardships as discipline or abandonment, but of testing and refinement. We change from, “Why me, Lord?” to “What are you trying to teach me in this, Lord – how will you turn this into good?”
God has a plan for you
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
We see our hardships as the end of the world and that if we must endure this for one more day, we’ll just die. But God is wise and knows that we won’t simply die from anguish. He gives His people much comfort throughout the bible. If we would read and learn the Scripture, we could make His promises part of our vocabulary and “go-to” phrases in tough times.
In Romans 8 above, we are being reminded that God has a plan for us. Even though we are going through a hard time, God has a plan that is being worked out. If we could see it this way, instead of grumbling and complaining about it (something I am seriously guilty of), then this plan could be completed on schedule.
We must look to the character of Job in the Old Testament. This was a man of great faith. He really didn’t need any testing, nor did he have anything to prove about his faith to God. But, as shown in Job 1:6-12, Satan wanted to prove to God that Job’s faith was only there because he had much riches and life was good. Satan told God that upon trials and hardships, that Job would turn on God and eventually curse Him.
So, God said, “You know what; Job is faithful and can handle it. Do as you please, but don’t hurt him physically.”
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Satan is out to destroy
In the above verses concerning Job, we can see that Satan is out looking for people to mess with. His plan is to cause us to stumble and to curse God in the process. The more people he can get to turn on God and to say that God abandons, the more populated Hell will be. Satan would take every single person on earth if he could.
So, we can see that in these verses, God allowed Satan to test Job’s faith. God allowed hardship to come to a perfectly reliable and obedient Christian. This is a man who was walking within the fellowship of God. According to the way a Christian was to live, Job was doing it. God allowed something bad to happen to a good person.
Okay, so, I purposely made this point about Job being a faithful and obedient follower in strong emphasis because there are so many of us who think that we must’ve done something wrong if bad things are happening to us; we must be bad people. Here, God took a person who did nothing wrong and allowed wrong to happen to him. So, when we are going through stuff, instead of pointing to God and claiming He has forsaken and abandoned us, we must realize that there is something above our understanding going on.
We live in a spiritual world and there is a battle between good and evil (Ephesians 6 10-17). We don’t see this battle, but it’s happening all around us in the Spiritual Realm. Satan is trying to destroy us, and God is trying to protect us.
So, just like Job, if Satan does something to harm us or our circumstances, we must know that God is still there. God believes that we are strong enough to endure the hardships He allows, and He knows that we will grow stronger for it. We must look back to Romans 8:28 to help understand that even though the enemy is attacking us, God will take the enemy’s bad and turn it into good for us; we who are following God in obedience.
If you want to see Romans 8:28 in full practice, read to the end of the book of Job where God restores everything Job lost, but this time, multiplied. God took Satan’s attacks and hardships for Job and turned Job’s loss into surplus.
God expects faith and obedience
In every story of the bible, when God is ready to move and fulfill His plan, He does. But we must see that for this to happen, it requires us to obey what He is telling us and for us to have faith that He will bring us through the hardship in victory.
In the earlier verse in Deuteronomy 31:6, Moses was trying to assure the people that they could go into the land and conquer the people living there. He was trying to encourage them that if they would just have some faith in God and obey His orders for battle, all would work out good for them in the end. As the story goes, they obeyed, and they got the land.
Had they lacked faith that God would bring them into victory, and had they disobeyed the order to move forward as directed, well, it’s possible that those people of that generation would’ve spent another forty years in the wilderness in vain.
God has a great plan for each of us, but He is calling us to have faith in Him, that is, to trust Him, and to obey Him. If we are going through a hard time right now and we are griping and complaining and maybe even throwing a literal tantrum, God will leave us to it until we wear ourselves out. If we are lucky, the situation won’t get the best of us.
Let’s not forget, there were many of God’s people who spent the forty years in the wilderness and never got to see the promised land. God wanted the best for them, but because they didn’t have the right attitude during the hardship, God couldn’t help them.
God wants us to give our problem to Him
So, what is God asking of us when we are either being attacked by Satan or simply just going through a tough time? Faithfulness and obedience.
Related: How To Grow Your Faith In God
If you are experiencing a difficult situation of any sort, including loss of a loved one, God is asking you to trust Him in this. He is asking you to not ask “why” this is happening, but instead, to ask “how” He will deliver you through this and “how” will He make it better.
God wants you to take your heaviest matters to Him and lay them at the foot of the cross. He wants you to pray about it and leave it with Him. He wants you to then trust Him and praise Him for His faithfulness and providence and ask Him for peace and rest. He is faithful to do this.
The only true constant in our lives that we can see are our “Up’s” and “Down’s.” But there is a greater constant in our life: God. God is everywhere always. This can be hard to understand, but He is there. Even during our greatest difficulties in life, He is there. God provides us with peace and joy in the hardest of times, but He requires us to bring the situation to Him in prayer and to leave it with Him to handle.
During this time, He wants us to keep our focus on Him and His promises, and to keep loving others and doing good. This is the good fight. We aren’t going a dozen rounds with Satan in a ring; we are in a constant battle that will last our entire life.
We can avoid the emotional roller-coaster ride in this life of ups and downs if we keep our focus on Jesus during the good and bad. We must keep our focus on Him and not the problem. Seek wise counsel for the issue from a Godly leader and then trust God to help you get through it.
If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can follow this link (Prayer for Salvation) to find out how. Also, if you need prayer for your life or your family, feel free to fill out a private prayer request in the provided prayer box in this article. My wife and I would love to pray for you.